To determine if children attend the family physician (FP) or the FP/paediatrician for their surveillancemedical appointments, as well as analyse the variables associated with the parents' choice between the two physicians.
Public, semiprivate and private kindergartens in the city of Vila Nova de Famalicão (Portugal).
Parents of children aged 6 years or less without chronic diseases, enrolled in the selected kindergartens.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Proportion of children attending the FP or FP/paediatrician for their surveillanceappointments; association between the chosen physician and sociodemographic and household variables (parents' age, educational level, professional situation and marital status; household net income; number of children; the child's age; presence of private health insurance), assessment of the parents' perception of clinical knowledge and accessibility regarding the FP and the paediatrician.
A total of 697 children were included in the analysis: 30.6% attended only the FP and 69.4% attended both the FP and the paediatrician. Using a Poisson regression, the mother's age (PR=1.02, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.03), higher educational level (prevalence ratio (PR=1.15, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.33), private health insurance (PR=1.30, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.46), number of children (PR=0.86, 95% CI 0.78 to 0.94) and the child's age (PR=0.95, 95% CI 0.91 to 0.98) were statistically associated with attending both the FP and the paediatrician; parents of children who attended only FP rated the FP with a higher accessibility and knowledge mean score than those who consulted both physicians (2.91vs2.38, P<0.001, and 4.11vs3.85, P<0.001).
Our data show that 70% of our sample simultaneously attended an FP and a paediatrician. FPs are equally qualified to provide medical care to healthy children but this information is not properly transmitted to the general population.