Investigating Perceptions and Beliefs of Roma about Healthcare Services in a Provincial General Hospital

Introduction: According to estimates, about 7 to 9 million Roma live in Europe, nowadays, out of whom two thirds are living in Central and Eastern Europe. Available studies in various countries show that Roma are experiencing racist behavior by representatives of health system because of their cultural diversity. Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to explore perceptions, feelings and beliefs of Greek Roma about public health structures and their satisfaction with health care services. Material and Μethod: The study sample consisted of 80 Greek Roma hospitalized in the General Hospital of Larisa. The present study was a cross sectional one and data was collected by the completion of the "Scale of attitudes, emotions and satisfaction of Roma health services". Data analysis was conducted by the Statistical Package fSPSS-22 while Pearson correlation, t-test and anova were used. Results: 31.3% of Roma were men and 68.8% women with a mean age 46.23 years. Moreover, 71.3% reported to be dissatisfied (mostly by doctors and nurses), 67.5% claimed to receive discrimination in hospital, and 60% reported that none of health care services do really care about them. Low total score in the scale of attitudes and satisfaction of Roma about health services, had participants using health services (p=0.040), those having a family member with health problem (p=0.022) as well as their hospitalization (p=0.004). Furthermore, more positive scored in the scale of attitudes, feelings, and satisfaction with health services, participants whose income come from their own work (p=0.004), who had health insurance, (p=0.008) and their monthly income was over than 200€. Conclusions: Roma in the present sample expressed openly negative feelings about public health services and care provided by healthcare professionals. Their attitude depends on several social factors while also is noticed a lack of knowledge about access to health services and how it can be provided appropriately. Continuous education of health professionals regarding provided care to individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds, is essential.