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Socioeconomic inequalities in waiting times for primary care across ten OECD countries

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  • Martin, Steve
  • Siciliani, Luigi
  • Smith, Peter

Abstract

Waiting times for health care are a major policy concern across OECD countries. Waiting times are generally tolerated in publicly-funded health systems and perceived as equitable if access to care is not based on socioeconomic status. Although a growing literature has documented that socioeconomic status is negatively associated with waiting times for secondary care in several countries, less is known about waiting time inequalities in primary care, which is the focus of this study. We exploit the Commonwealth Fund's International Health Policy Survey of Adults in 2010, 2013 and 2016 and include ten OECD countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom). Waiting time for primary care is measured by the time reported to get an appointment to see a doctor or a nurse. We employ interval regression models to investigate for each country whether socioeconomic status (household income and education) are associated with the waiting time for a primary care appointment. We control for age, gender, chronic conditions, and whether the individual holds private health insurance. We find a negative association between household income and waiting times in Canada, Germany, Norway and Sweden.

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  • Martin, Steve & Siciliani, Luigi & Smith, Peter, 2020. "Socioeconomic inequalities in waiting times for primary care across ten OECD countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 263(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:263:y:2020:i:c:s0277953620304494
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113230
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Turner, Alex J & Francetic, Igor & Watkinson, Ruth & Gillibrand, Stephanie & Sutton, Matt, 2022. "Socioeconomic inequality in access to timely and appropriate care in emergency departments," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).

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