Ethnicity and primary care : a comparative study of doctor-patient relationship, perceived health, symptomatology, and use of general practitioner services by Asian and white patients, and the Bradford general practitioners' attitudes towards these patients
Britain's Asians are a young population and their socio-economic status is low, with racial disadvantage in housing, employment, education and health. Research on their health has usually not been conducted in its socio-economic and demographic context and there is little on their use of primary care. Three studies were conducted to investigate their relationship with primary care in Bradford. A study of general practice attenders of white/British, Pakistani and Indian origin confirmed the demographic and socio-economic differences between the groups. The former had higher rates of alcohol and cigarette consumption. For Pakistanis and Indians, fluency and literacy in English was poor. Ethnic and linguistic match between doctor and patient was more important in patients' choice of doctor than the doctor's sex. Differential employment status of Asian and white/British accounted for some of the differences in health. A study of general practice attendance showed similar rates of surgery consultations between Asians and Non-Asians; the latter made greater use of domiciliary services. Both these studies were conducted in an inner Bradford health centre with an Asian male, a white male and a white female doctor. Bradford GPs were found to perceive that Asian patients made greater use of surgery and domiciliary consultations; attended more often for trivial complaints; and had lower compliance rates than Non-Asians. These perceptions were not supported by objective data. Better qualified GPs had a smaller, and Asian doctors had a greater proportion of Asian patients on their lists. Research, and action on Asians' health, needs to take account of their poorer socio-economic status.