IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Distance Travelled in the NHS in England for Inpatient Treatment


  • Carol Propper
  • Michael Damiani
  • George Leckie
  • Jennifer Dixon



Objectives: To establish the distances travelled for inpatient treatment in England across different population groups prior to the introduction of policy to extend patient choice focusing particularly on differences by socio-economic status of patient. Methods: Using HES data for 2003/04 the distance from the admitted patient’s residence to the NHS site of treatment was calculated for each admission. Distances were summed to electoral ward level to give the distribution of distances travelled at ward level. These were analysed to show the distance travelled for different admission types, ages of patient, rural/urban location, and the socio-economic deprivation of the population of the ward. Results: There is considerable variation in the distances travelled for hospital treatment between electoral wards. Some of this is explained by geographical location. Individuals located in wards in more rural areas travel further for elective, emergency and maternity admissions. But individuals located in highly deprived wards travel less far and this shorter distance is not explained just by the closer location of facilities to these wards. Conclusions: Before the patient choice reforms were implemented, there were considerable differences between individuals in the distances they travel for hospital care. As patient choice is being actively rolled-out the factors that result in people in more deprived areas travelling less need to be better understood.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Propper & Michael Damiani & George Leckie & Jennifer Dixon, 2006. "Distance Travelled in the NHS in England for Inpatient Treatment," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 06/162, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:06/162

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    hospital care; distance travelled; socio-economic inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:06/162. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.