, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 381-390
Date: 26 Aug 2010

Perception of the Ecuadorian population living in Barcelona regarding access to health services

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To analyse the factors that influence access to health services from the point of view of the Ecuadorian population living in Barcelona.


A qualitative, descriptive and phenomenological study was carried out by semi-structured individual interviews on a sample of Ecuadorians (18) with maximum variation in age, sex, time since arrival and administrative status. The analysis was conducted according to Colaizzi’s method. The study area was Barcelona.


Access was considered to be easy for personal health-care card (PHC) holders. However, interviewees identified few factors that facilitated access related to the Ecuadorian population (PHC holder, language, social networks) and the health system (free care, opening hours). In contrast, a number of hindering factors related to both the Ecuadorian population (insufficient knowledge of the system, problems with the documentation in obtaining the PHC, working conditions) and to the system itself (information availability, resources, organisation, attitude of staff) were also identified.


Although access was perceived as easy, the Ecuadorian population has to overcome a number of barriers to obtain care. These obstacles may have consequences on immigrants’ health and on the efficiency of the system.

This paper belongs to the special issue “Health of ethnic minorities in Europe”.