Access to general practice for Pacific peoples: a place for cultural competency

J Prim Health Care. 2012 Jun 1;4(2):123-30.


Introduction: Access to primary health care services has been identified as a problem for Pacific peoples. Although cost is the most frequently cited barrier to Pacific service utilisation, some research has indicated that access may also be influenced by features of mainstream primary care services. This study aimed to identify features of mainstream general practice services that act as barriers to accessing these services for Pacific peoples in order to explore strategies that providers could adopt to enable their practices to be more welcoming, accessible and appropriate for Pacific peoples.

Methods: Pacific participants were recruited through Pacific networks known to Pegasus Health and via 'snowball' sampling. In total, 20 participants participated in one of three focus groups. A semi-structured interview explored the participants' views and experiences of mainstream general practice care. Thematic analysis was utilised to interpret the data.

Findings: The analysis revealed five themes highlighting non-financial features of mainstream general practice services that may influence the availability and acceptability of these services to Pacific peoples: language and communication; rushed consultations; appointment availability; reception; and Pacific presence.

Conclusion: The findings indicate that all personnel within the primary care setting have the ability to directly engage in the improvement of the health status of Pacific peoples in New Zealand by developing cultural competency and incorporating flexibility and diversity into the care and service they provide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Cultural Competency*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • General Practice / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / psychology*
  • New Zealand / ethnology
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult