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Table 3 Perception of quality of care in PHC

From: Comprehensive primary health care and non-communicable diseases management: a case study of El Salvador

Quality of care


Illustrative stakeholder’s quotes

Quality of care provided by health workers in PHC

Chronic patients mainly expressed having received adequate care.

“In the health unit, I have always felt well treated. The nurses are very kind to me. To be honest I cannot complain; they have all been very nice every time” Woman with diabetes.

“Here, in the new health unit, I feel well-treated (...) The nurses and the doctor are nice to me” Man with CKD.

Waiting time

Waiting time is shorter in PHC than in hospitals.

In PHC, the waiting time for specialist consultants who attend patients by appointment was shorter than the GP’s (waking patients)".

“Before the health reform every time I had a problem because of my blood sugar was too high or down I had to go to the hospital and wait for hours, now I just walk to my nearest health Unit” Woman with Diabetes.

“When you go to see the general practitioner, they give you a number at the entrance of the health unit and then attend in numerical order. When the specialist comes, I have my scheduled appointment from the previous time that I was seen” Man with Diabetes.

Attention time in consultation

Health workers take the necessary time.

Family doctors have 15 min per patient.

“To be honest, in the health unit they have always given me the time I needed in the consultation” Woman with hypertension.

“The standard is 15 min per patient, 4 patients per hour, but if for example a patient (...) needs more time, we make sure we give them the time they need” Family Doctor.

Health workers’ communication skills

Communication is adequately adapted to the educational level of individual patients, while also engaging with the chronic patients’ families (especially cases where the patient may be illiterate or advanced in age).

“I speak to them with words that are easily understandable, not with technical words. I adapt my language to the educational level of each patient” Pharmacist.

“I explain to the patient and their family, especially when I am dealing with older patients, all the details about the treatment and. In cases when patients are illiterate, I draw signs to help them to know when to take the pills. I also ask them to repeat to me what I have just said in order to verify that they have understood” Family doctor.

Health information quality

The majority of the discourse of the interviewed chronic patients responded positively when asked about the quality of the information given to them by the health staff in PHC.

“The information I received was good because they explained what my disease was and how to take the medicine. Everything is fine. They always try to assure us that we understand everything correctly” Man with Diabetes.

“The doctor gives us information about why we have to do lab tests, how to take the medication, information about diet and so on” Woman with Diabetes.