Reasons for referral from general practice in Finland

Scand J Prim Health Care. 1997 Mar;15(1):43-7. doi: 10.3109/02813439709043429.


Objective: To examine the reasons for referral from general practice in Finland.

Design: Survey over one week of all referrals from general practice.

Setting: Central and northern Finland, comprising 72% of the area of the country and one-third of the population.

Participants: 851 general practitioners (GPs) from public health centres.

Outcome measures: Referrals by speciality and reasons for referrals by ICD-9 and ICPC codes in terms of characteristics of patients, GPs, and practices.

Results: A higher proportion of male (39%) than female (33%) patients were referred to surgical speciality (p < 0.001). Ten per cent of the patients referred by female GPs were referred to gynaecology departments, compared with 5% of those referred by male GPs (p < 0.001). Otitis media in children and abdominal pain in adults were the commonest reasons for referral of both male and female patients.

Conclusion: Our results will be useful in developing the training of GPs with respect to those health problems that most commonly lead to a referral to hospital.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine
  • Middle Aged
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Specialization
  • Specialties, Surgical