Waiting times and socioeconomic status: Evidence from England
Waiting times for elective surgery, like hip replacement, are often referred to as an equitable rationing mechanism in publicly-funded healthcare systems because access to care is not based on socioeconomic status. Previous work has established that that this may not be the case and there is evidence of inequality in NHS waiting times favouring patients living in the least deprived neighbourhoods in England. We advance the literature by explaining variations of inequalities in waiting times in England in four different ways. First, we ask whether inequalities are driven by education rather than income. Our analysis shows that education and income deprivation have distinct effects on waiting time. Patients in the first quintile with least deprivation in education wait 9% less than patients in the second quintile and 14% less than patients in the third-to-fifth quintile. Patients in the fourth and fifth most income-deprived quintile wait about 7% longer than patients in the least deprived quintile. Second, we investigate whether inequalities arise “across” hospitals or “within” the hospital. The analysis provides evidence that most inequalities occur within hospitals rather than across hospitals. Moreover, failure to control for hospital fixed effects results in underestimation of the income gradient. Third, we explore whether inequalities arise across the entire waiting time distribution. Inequalities between better educated patients and other patients occur over large part of the waiting time distribution. Moreover we find that the education gradient becomes smaller for very long waiting. Fourth, we investigate whether the gradient may reflect the fact that patients with higher socioeconomic status have a different severity as proxied through a range of types and the number of diagnoses (in addition to age and gender) compared to those with lower socioeconomic status. We find no evidence that differences in severity explain the social gradient in waiting times.
Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David Briggs & Daniela Fecht & Kees de Hoogh, 2007. "Census data issues for epidemiology and health risk assessment: experiences from the Small Area Health Statistics Unit," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(2), pages 355-378.
- Eddy van Doorslaer & Xander Koolman & Andrew M. Jones, 2004. "Explaining income-related inequalities in doctor utilisation in Europe," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 629-647.
- Lindsay, Cotton M & Feigenbaum, Bernard, 1984. "Rationing by Waiting Lists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 404-17, June.
- Hugh Gravelle & Luigi Siciliani, 2006.
"Is Waiting-time Prioritisation Welfare Improving?,"
06/13, Department of Economics, University of York.
- Luigi Siciliani & Rossella Verzulli, 2009. "Waiting times and socioeconomic status among elderly Europeans: evidence from SHARE," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(11), pages 1295-1306.
- Hugh Gravelle & Luigi Siciliani, 2007.
"Ramsey Waits: Allocating Public Health Service Resources when there is Rationing by Waiting,"
07/15, Department of Economics, University of York.
- Gravelle, Hugh & Siciliani, Luigi, 2008. "Ramsey waits: Allocating public health service resources when there is rationing by waiting," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1143-1154, September.
- Cullis, John G. & Jones, Philip R. & Propper, Carol, 2000. "Waiting lists and medical treatment: Analysis and policies," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 23, pages 1201-1249 Elsevier.
- 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 437-62, July.
- Martin, Stephen & Smith, Peter C., 1999. "Rationing by waiting lists: an empirical investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 141-164, January.
- Sofia Dimakou & David Parkin & Nancy Devlin & John Appleby, 2009. "Identifying the impact of government targets on waiting times in the NHS," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-10, March.
- Ermisch, John F. & Jenkins, Stephen P., 1999. "Retirement and housing adjustment in later life: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 311-333, June.
- van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & van der Burg, Hattem & Christiansen, Terkel & De Graeve, Diana & Duchesne, Inge & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna, 2000. "Equity in the delivery of health care in Europe and the US," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 553-583, September.
- Tom Stargardt, 2008. "Health service costs in Europe: cost and reimbursement of primary hip replacement in nine countries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(S1), pages S9-S20.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:74:y:2012:i:9:p:1331-1341. 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: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.