Non-Western migrants experience more and different barriers during their GP consultation

Published on August 20th 2018 – Patient participation is important for an effective conversation between doctor and patient. A patient who actively participates during the conversation, generally reports the most positive outcomes. A recent study done by Sanne Schinkel and colleagues reveals that migrants with a non-Western background experience more and different barriers to actively participate during their conversation with their GP. These barriers do not only concern language, but also cultural differences and feelings of discrimination.

The results of this study are based on focus groups with either Turkish-Dutch or indigenous-Dutch patients. The results show that Turkish-Dutch patients perceive that they are hindered to participate actively due to language issues and the GP’s direct communication style. Additionally, they experience large power differences with their GP, different cultural norms and values and a lower understanding of the way patients are treated in the Netherlands, all discussed as barriers to participate actively in the conversation with their GP. These barriers may impede the communication with their GP importantly and ultimately lead to worse care for this patient group. Sanne Schinkel and colleagues thus suggest that doctors need to be more aware that not only language and communication barriers are experienced, but also cultural differences and feelings of discrimination hinder these patients to be actively involved patients during medical conversations.

More information? Schinkel, S., Schouten, B. C., Kerpiclik, F., van den Putte, B., & van Weert, J. C. M. (2018) Perceptions of barriers to patient participation: Are they due to language, culture, or discrimination? Health Communication, doi: 10.1080/10410236.2018.1500431