Framing ‘Barriers to Access’

Understanding how and why people access services to meet their perceived needs, whether health or social related, requires clarity about a number of perspectives, which can be categorised as follows.

  • The perspective of human interaction – what forces and factors impact on the individuals involved in the interaction that leads to the service intervention, or prevents that intervention?
  • The perspective of the system – what forces and factors are at play in the organisation, project, team or other systemic grouping that influence the availability and accessibility of the service offered?
  • The context perspective – there may be political, resource and other macro-economic factors that influence accessibility.

Research in the field of accessibility to health, social and environmental services has highlighted an emerging framework for examining these perspectives which is described below.