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Improving access to services for psychotic patients: does implementing a waiting time target make a difference


  • Anika Kreutzberg

    (Technical University of Berlin)

  • Rowena Jacobs

    (University of York, Alcuin College)


Objective In April 2015, the English National Health Service started implementing the first waiting time targets in mental health care. This study aims to investigate the effect of the 14-day waiting time target for early intervention in psychosis (EIP) services after the first six months of its implementation. Study design We analyse a cohort of first-episode psychosis patients from the English administrative Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Dataset 2011 to 2015. We compare patients being treated by EIP services (treatment) with those receiving care from standard community mental health services (control). We combine non-parametric matching with a difference-in-difference approach to account for observed and unobserved group differences. We analyse the probability of waiting below target and look at different percentiles of the waiting time distribution. Results EIP patients had an 11.6–18.4 percentage point higher chance of waiting below target post-policy compared to standard care patients. However, post-policy trends at different percentiles of the waiting time distribution were not different between groups. Conclusions Mental health providers seem to respond to waiting time targets in a similar way as physical health providers. The increased proportion waiting below target did not, however, result in an overall improvement across the waiting time distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Anika Kreutzberg & Rowena Jacobs, 2020. "Improving access to services for psychotic patients: does implementing a waiting time target make a difference," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 21(5), pages 703-716, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eujhec:v:21:y:2020:i:5:d:10.1007_s10198-020-01165-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s10198-020-01165-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

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    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 27th July 2020
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2020-07-27 11:00:01

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    More about this item


    Waiting time targets; Mental health; Early intervention in psychosis; Difference-in-difference analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets


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