Accessibility to urgent and emergency care services in low-density territories: the case of Baixo Alentejo, Portugal

Rita Ferreira, Nuno Marques da Costa, Eduarda Marques da Costa
2021 Ciência & Saúde Coletiva  
Access to health care is a sensitive issue in low population density territories, as these areas tend to have a lower level of service provision. One dimension of access is accessibility. This paper focuses on measuring the accessibility to urgent and emergency care services in the Portuguese region of Baixo Alentejo, a territory characterized by low population density. Data for the calculation of accessibility is the road network, and the methodology considers the application of a two-level
more » ... work analyst method: time-distance by own mean (car or taxi) to the urgent care services and the time distance to emergency services as a way to get assistance and to go to urgent care services. While urgent care accessibility meets the requirements stipulated in the Integrated Medical Emergency System's current legislative framework, the simulation of different scenarios of potential accessibility shows intra-regional disparities. Some territories have a low level of accessibility. Older adults, the poorly educated, and low-income population, also have the lowest levels of accessibility, which translates into dually disadvantageous situation since the potential users of emergency services are most likely to belong to this group of citizens.
doi:10.1590/1413-81232021266.1.40882020 pmid:34133628 fatcat:zr5obxelq5bznhkelihu2evruq