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Physician Distribution and Physician Shortage Intensity in Ontario


  • Boris Kralj


During the 1990s, in Ontario and many other jurisdictions, the focus on the physician human resources debate has moved from aggregate surpluses to shortages. However, the problem of equitable access to those resources, and health services in general, has remained. During this period, much government policy effort has been targeted toward the perceived "maldistribution" of resources between geographic regions. This paper applies the Gini index of resource concentration methodology to gauge the maldistribution of physician resources in Ontario during the 1990s. It also proposes, and implements, an approach for quantifying physician shortages through a physician shortage intensity index. The results reveal that despite numerous government policies and programs aimed at alleviating the geographic maldistribution of medical human resources, the distribution of physicians in Ontario has become more uneven during the 1990s. This puts the efficacy of government policies to correct geographic maldistribution into question. Additionally, there has been no meaningful improvement in overall physician shortage intensity during the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Boris Kralj, 2001. "Physician Distribution and Physician Shortage Intensity in Ontario," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 27(2), pages 167-178, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:27:y:2001:i:2:p:167-178

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Waters, Hugh R., 2000. "Measuring equity in access to health care," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 599-612, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frank T. Denton & Amiram Gafni & Byron G. Spencer, 2005. "Users and Suppliers of Physician Services: A Tale of Two Populations," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 399, McMaster University.
    2. Weinhold, Ines & Gurtner, Sebastian, 2014. "Understanding shortages of sufficient health care in rural areas," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 201-214.
    3. Correia Isabel & Veiga Paula, 2010. "Geographic distribution of physicians in Portugal," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 11(4), pages 383-393, August.
    4. Graber-Naidich, Anna & Carter, Michael W. & Verter, Vedat, 2017. "Restructuring the resident training system for improving the equity of access to primary care," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 258(3), pages 1143-1155.
    5. Frank T. Denton & Christine H. Feaver & Byron G. Spencer, 2008. "An Application of Price and Quantity Indexes in the Analysis of Changes in Expenditures on Physician Services," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 426, McMaster University.

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