Primary care in a post-communist country 10 years later Comparison of service profiles of Lithuanian primary care physicians in 1994 and GPs in 2004

Health Policy. 2007 Sep;83(1):105-13. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2006.11.011. Epub 2007 Jan 19.


Objectives: The study aimed, firstly, to assess changes in the service profile of primary care physicians between 1994, when features of the Soviet health system prevailed, and 2004, when retraining of GPs was completed. Secondly, to compare service profiles among current GPs, taking into account their positions before being retrained.

Methods: A cross-sectional repeated measures study was conducted among district therapists and district pediatricians in 1994 and GPs in 2004. A questionnaire was used containing identical items on the physicians' involvement in curative and preventive services. The response rates in both years were 87% and 73%, respectively.

Results: In 2004, physicians had much more office contacts with patients than in 1994. Modest progress was made with the provision of technical procedures. Involvement in disease management was also stronger in 2004 than in 1994, particularly among former pediatricians. Involvement in screening activities remained stable among former therapists and increased among former pediatricians. At present, GPs who used to be therapists provide a broader range of services than ex pediatricians. GPs from the residency programme hold an intermediate position.

Conclusions: Lithuanian GPs have taken up new tasks but variation can be reduced. The health care system is still in the midst of transition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communism*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Lithuania
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care*