The perception of barriers concerning opioid medicines: A survey examining differences between policy makers, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders

Marjolein J.M. Vranken, Lisa Linge-Dahl, Aukje K. Mantel-Teeuwisse*, Lukas Radbruch, Marie Hélène DB Schutjens, Willem Scholten, Sheila Payne, Saskia Jünger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: In many countries, the consumption of opioid medicines is too low to meet population needs. Discussions within the Access To Opioid Medication in Europe project indicated that there may be significant differences in the perception of barriers for their adequate use, depending on the stakeholders. Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the perception of barriers and their impact concerning opioid medicines, comparing policy makers, healthcare professionals working in the field of pain management, palliative care or harm reduction and other stakeholders. Design: Data were collected using a questionnaire partially constructed from existing surveys, reviewed for content validity by four experts and pilot-tested in Latvia. Setting/participants: Participants of the Access to Opioid Medication in Europe national conferences were invited to complete the questionnaire. Stakeholder groups were compared using non-parametric rank-sum tests. Results: In total, 199 participants (54%) in seven countries completed the questionnaire. Most frequently rated major barriers included lack of financial resources and inadequate knowledge, skills and training among policy makers (55%–66%). Overall, policy makers perceived issues less often as major barriers or having major impact (29% barrier, 32% impact) compared to other stakeholders (36%–42% barrier, 39%–51% impact). Significant differences were seen on several aspects. For example, excessive regulation or bureaucracy for prescribing was rated as having major impact by 55%–57% of healthcare professionals in contrast to only 20% of the policy makers (p = 0.002). Conclusion: Multiple barriers may play an important role, partly depending on the perspective of the stakeholder involved. Hence, when addressing perceived barriers, it is important to include all relevant stakeholder groups. Only then, effective and widely supported solutions can be implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-503
Number of pages11
JournalPalliative Medicine
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Access
  • barriers
  • healthcare professionals
  • opioid analgesics
  • opioids
  • perception
  • policy makers
  • questionnaire

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