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Measuring service quality and patient satisfaction with access to public and private healthcare delivery

Nana Owusu‐Frimpong (London Metropolitan University, London, UK)
Sonny Nwankwo (University of East London, London, UK)
Baba Dason (London Metropolitan University, London, UK)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 6 April 2010




This paper aims to explore patients' satisfaction with access to treatment in both the public and private healthcare sectors in London.


Qualitative and quantitative methods were employed to determine patients' levels of satisfaction. A semi‐structured face ‐to‐face non‐probability quota sampling and a probability sample drawn from multistage cluster sampling methods were employed.


The results revealed varying access experiences among public and private care users. Public, as opposed to private, healthcare users experience unsatisfactory outcomes in relation to service climate factors (e.g. getting attention from doctors, time taken to get appointments, access to core treatment and opening hours). Overall, while women are more disadvantaged by spatial accessibility to treatment than men, both public and private healthcare users indicate major problems in accessing healthcare despite the myriad intervention strategies aimed at ameliorating the situation in both sectors. Therefore, access‐to‐care problems are significant and need to be addressed by managers and healthcare providers in order to improve the quality of service delivery and patient satisfaction. Private care users fare better than public users in obtaining medical care at short notice, having more agreeable opening hours for treatment and getting appointments for treatment with less difficulty.

Research limitations/implications

Whereas the limitation of the study was due to its small sample size, it nevertheless will stimulate insight into further academic endeavours.

Practical implications

Academics and practitioners will find the results very useful when making decisions about healthcare provisions and how they can best meet user/patient satisfaction.


This study is significant in drawing on the current literature on satisfaction which is usefully applied to evaluate patients' response to the quality management initiatives in the healthcare sector.



Owusu‐Frimpong, N., Nwankwo, S. and Dason, B. (2010), "Measuring service quality and patient satisfaction with access to public and private healthcare delivery", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 203-220.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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