BMC Health Services Research;2018 18:852
Background: Amongst psychiatric patients, the leading causes of reduced quality of life and premature death are chronic viral infections and cardiovascular diseases. In spite of this, there are extremely high levels of disparity in somatic healthcare amongst such populations. Little research has explored patterns of healthcare utilisation and, therefore, this study aims to examine the use of somatic specialist healthcare for infectious diseases and diseases of circulatory system among psychiatric patients from different immigrant groups and ethnic Norwegians. Methods: Register data from the Norwegian Patient Registry and Statistics Norway were used. The sample (ages 0–90+) consisted of 276,890 native-born Norwegians and 52,473 immigrants from five world regions – Western countries, East Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, all of whom had contacts with specialist mental healthcare during the period 2008–2011. Statistical analyses were applied using logistic regression models. Results: Rates of outpatient consultation for circulatory system diseases were significantly lower amongst patients from Africa, Asia and Latin America compared with ethnic Norwegian psychiatric patients. Only patients from Eastern Europeans had a higher rate. With regard to hospital admission, all psychiatric patients had a lower rate than ethnic Norwegians with the exception of those from Africa where the finding was non-significant. In terms of infectious diseases, patients from African countries had significantly higher outpatient and admission rates than ethnic Norwegians. Outpatient consultation rates were lower amongst those from Western and Latin America and hospital admission rates were lower amongst those from Eastern Europe and Asia. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the majority of immigrant psychiatric patients have lower hospitalization rates for circulatory system diseases than Norwegian psychiatric patients. This may suggest that poor access for immigrants is a contributing factor, though the findings were less pronounced for infectious diseases.
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