Ambulatory Care Utilization
Most health services are accessed through primary care services. These are generally General Medical Practitioners or Family Doctors located in surgeries or other clinics distributed in the local community. Surgeries and clinics that often provide maternal and child health and family planning clinics are usually run by local health authorities, and in some countries may be called Health Centers or polyclinics. If patients are too ill to be served by primary care clinics, but not ill enough to need admission to hospital, or if they need more complex examination, then they will be referred to hospital outpatient departments. All of these services, including primary care and outpatient services, are referred to as ambulatory services, from the Italian “ambulare” – to walk, because these patients walk to the clinics to be seen by doctors and other clinicians, and do not have to be admitted to “lie in a hospital bed.”
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