Objectives: As a large proportion of patients are seen in primary healthcare (PHC) centres, it is important to explore patients’ perceptions of communication and clinical skills of PHC physicians. In Oman, PHC is provided by both trained family physicians (FPs) and general practitioners (GPs). Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at 12 PHC centres in Muscat Governorate, Oman between November 2014 and August 2015. Adult Omani patients’ perceptions of Omani and other Arabic-speaking doctors were examined using an Arabic translation of a validated self-administered questionnaire. Results: A total of 626 patients completed the questionnaire (response rate: 100%). The patients’ responses were significantly more positive towards FPs compared to GPs on whether the doctor provided reassurance (P = 0.03), took a complete medical history (P = 0.03) and gave the patient the opportunity of a follow-up with the same doctor (P = 0.01). Conclusion: Certain skills in communication and clinical aspects of FPs were favourably viewed by patients compared to GPs.
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