Access to healthcare for long-term conditions in women involved in street-based prostitution: a qualitative study

Article English OPEN
Mastrocola, Emma L. ; Taylor, Anna K. ; Chew-Graham, Carolyn (2015)

Background Women involved in street-based prostitution (SBP) have well-documented health problems specific to their occupation, but access to care for other chronic health problems has not been explored. Primary care is seen as the optimal context to deliver care for people with long-term conditions because it is accessible, efficient, and can tackle inequalities related to socioeconomic deprivation. We aimed to explore the perspectives of women involved in SBP about access to health care for their long-term conditions. Methods This was a qualitative study with women accessing a third sector organization in North West England. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with sixteen women involved in SBP and accessing support. Data were analysed using the principles of constant comparison and a framework approach. Results Women described how they were living with ill health, which they found difficult to manage, and often impacted on their work. Women reported poor access to care and viewed any ensuing consultations in primary care as unsatisfactory. Conclusion This study highlights the unmet health needs of women who work in SBP, not just related to their occupation, but due to their co-morbid long-term conditions. Access to primary care was reported to be problematic and interactions with general practitioners not fulfilling their expectations, which impacted on future consultation behaviour. Understanding the health-seeking behaviours and self-management strategies of women involved in SBP with chronic health problems is essential in the design and commissioning of services and may reduce unscheduled care in this under-served group.
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