IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Socio-economic status and the utilisation of physicians' services: results from the Canadian National Population Health Survey

Listed author(s):
  • Dunlop, Sheryl
  • Coyte, Peter C.
  • McIsaac, Warren
Registered author(s):

    This paper assesses the extent to which Canada's universal health care system has eliminated socio-economic barriers in the use of physician services by examining the role of socio-economic status in the differential use of specific, publicly-insured, primary and specialist care services. Data from the 1994 National Population Health Survey, a nationally representative survey, were analysed using multiple logistic regression. In order to control for the association between primary and specialist utilisation, a two-staged least squares method was used for models explaining specialist utilisation. Health need, as measured by perceived health status and number of health problems, was found to be consistently associated with increased physician utilisation, for both primary and specialist visits. Whereas the likelihood of an individual making at least one visit to a primary care physician was found to be independent of income, those with lower incomes were more likely to be frequent users of primary care, that is, make at least six visits to a primary care physician. Even after adjusting for the greater utilisation of primary care services by those in lower socio-economic groups, and, therefore, their higher exposure to the risk of referral, the utilisation of specialist visits was greater for those in higher socio-economic groups. Canadians lacking a regular medical doctor were less likely to receive primary and specialist care, even after adjustments for socio-economic variables such as income and education. Although financial barriers may not directly impede access to health care services in Canada, differential use of physician services with respect to socio-economic status persists. After adjusting for differences in health need, Canadians with lower incomes and fewer years of schooling visit specialists at a lower rate than those with moderate or high incomes and higher levels of education attained despite the existence of universal health care.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 51 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 123-133

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:1:p:123-133
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:1:p:123-133. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.