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Do the poor cost much more? The relationship between small area income deprivation and length of stay for elective hip replacement in the English NHS from 2001 to 2008

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  • Cookson, Richard
  • Laudicella, Mauro

Abstract

The Blair/Brown reforms of the English NHS in the early to mid 2000s gave hospitals strong new incentives to reduce waiting times and length of stay for elective surgery. One concern was that these efficiency-oriented reforms might harm equity, by giving hospitals new incentives to select against socio-economically disadvantaged patients who stay longer and cost more to treat. This paper aims to assess the magnitude of these new selection incentives in the test case of hip replacement. Anonymous hospital records are extracted on 274,679 patients admitted to English NHS Hospital Trusts for elective total hip replacement from 2001/2 through 2007/8. The relationship between length of stay and small area income deprivation is modelled allowing for other patient characteristics (age, sex, number and type of diagnoses, procedure type) and hospital effects. After adjusting for these factors, we find that patients from the most deprived tenth of areas stayed just 6% longer than others in 2001/2, falling to 2% by 2007/8. By comparison, patients aged 85 or over stayed 57% longer than others in 2001/2, rising to 71% by 2007/8, and patients with seven or more diagnoses stayed 58% longer than others in 2001/2, rising to 73% by 2007/8. We conclude that the Blair/Brown reforms did not give NHS hospitals strong new incentives to select against socio-economically deprived hip replacement patients.

Suggested Citation

  • Cookson, Richard & Laudicella, Mauro, 2011. "Do the poor cost much more? The relationship between small area income deprivation and length of stay for elective hip replacement in the English NHS from 2001 to 2008," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 173-184, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:2:p:173-184
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Propper Carol & Sutton Matt & Whitnall Carolyn & Windmeijer Frank, 2008. "Did 'Targets and Terror' Reduce Waiting Times in England for Hospital Care?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-27, January.
    2. Street, Andrew & Maynard, Alan, 2007. "Activity based financing in England: the need for continual refinement of payment by results," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 419-427, October.
    3. Hamilton, Barton H & Bramley-Harker, Robert Edward, 1999. "The Impact of the NHS Reforms on Queues and Surgical Outcomes in England: Evidence from Hip Fracture Patients," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 437-462, July.
    4. Manning, Willard G. & Basu, Anirban & Mullahy, John, 2005. "Generalized modeling approaches to risk adjustment of skewed outcomes data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 465-488, May.
    5. Cutler, David, 2002. "Equality, Efficiency, and Market Fundamentals: The Dynamics of International Medical Care Reform," Scholarly Articles 2640584, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. David M. Cutler, 2002. "Equality, Efficiency, and Market Fundamentals: The Dynamics of International Medical-Care Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 881-906, September.
    7. Nigel Rice & Andrew Jones, 1997. "Multilevel models and health economics," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(6), pages 561-575.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cookson, Richard & Laudicella, Mauro & Donni, Paolo Li, 2013. "Does hospital competition harm equity? Evidence from the English National Health Service," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 410-422.
    2. Claudia Geue & Andrew Briggs & James Lewsey & Paula Lorgelly, 2014. "Population ageing and healthcare expenditure projections: new evidence from a time to death approach," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 15(8), pages 885-896, November.
    3. James Gaughan & Anne Mason & Andrew Street & Padraic Ward, 2012. "English Hospitals Can Improve Their Use of Resources: An Analysis of Costs and Length of Stay for Ten Treatments," Working Papers 078cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.

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