Young people and their GP: a register-based study of 1717 Norwegian GPs

Fam Pract. 2010 Feb;27(1):3-8. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmp073. Epub 2009 Oct 26.


Background: Internationally, there has been a call to improve the youth-friendliness of health services. In surveys, 60-90% of young people report having contact with a GP at least once a year. Regular contact with the GP can be assumed to be an indicator of a youth-friendly health service. The aim of the current study was to identify associations between a high consultation rate with young people (15-24 years) on the one hand and GP characteristics, patient list characteristics and practice profiling factors on the other.

Methods: A cross-sectional national register-based study from 2002-04 in Norwegian general practice. Data on 1717 GPs, their practice populations and a sample of 316 773 consultations with young people were used to estimate differences between GPs, using one-way analysis of variance and logistic regression.

Results: The mean annual consultation rate with young people was 1.4 (95% confidence interval 1.4-1.5) and 2.2 (2.1-2.2) for the age groups 15-19 and 20-24, respectively. List characteristics indicating free capacity-a shorter patient list, a growing patient list and a high access for persons not on the patient list-were associated with a high youth consultation rate. Young age of the GP, low educational level among the list population and a high rate of interdisciplinary activity by the GP were also associated with a high youth consultation rate.

Conclusions: GPs seem to assign especially low priority to young people when workload is high or free capacity low. Increased awareness of these mechanisms and greater interdisciplinary cooperation could increase the youth-friendliness of general practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Registries*
  • Young Adult