The health care system as a social determinant of health: qualitative insights from South Australian maternity consumers
Newman, Lareen Ann
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Health systems and policies are important determinants of health because they influence the type and quality of health care available to a population. This study included semi-structured qualitative interviews and a questionnaire to collect demographic data and household details for a purposeful sample of 38 mothers and 24 fathers from four socioeconomic areas of metropolitan South Australia who had at least one child aged between 1 and 6 years of age. The participants reported that birth experiences within the predominantly medicalised maternity system were at odds with the expectations of a significant proportion of contemporary consumers that maternity care will leave them not only with a healthy mother and baby, but also with no undue adverse impacts on their physical, mental and relationship health. There appears to be no formal mechanism in place for regular consumer feedback of experiences into system and service planning.