Part 2: Access to Care

Access in terms of availability of health services is a critical component to health and wellbeing.

Access includes:

  • Approachability or the ability to perceive the need for health care, and to know that health services exist.
  • Accessibility including cultural appropriateness of care, and lack of bias or discrimination.
  • Availability, which includes the ability to reach health services; the presence of the right number of health care workers with the right skills.
  • Affordability of care without catastrophic consequences.
  • Appropriateness or the quality of and engagement in health care provision.
  • Timeliness of access including waiting times and open hours.

Health systems around the world struggle to achieve equity of access to health services for their populations. This is especially true for the vulnerable, disadvantaged and for those living in rural areas.