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

Equity of access to health care

Listed author(s):
  • Maria Goddard


    (Centre for Health Economics, The University of York)

  • Peter Smith


Registered author(s):

    The election of the Labour government last year shifted the issue of inequality in health to the top of the policy agenda. In its White Paper on the “New NHS”, promises were made about reducing unacceptable variations in services and ensuring fair access. Publication of the Green Paper “Our Healthier Nation” also reinforced the government’s aim of narrowing the health gap. Several national initiatives also have this aim, including the £30 million investment in Health Action Zones which are to target health inequalities and the establishment of a public enquiry into health inequalities, chaired by Sir Donald Acheson. However, much of the action required to tackle inequality will have to be undertaken at a local level. Indeed, the White Paper gave Health Authorities, in conjunction with other organisations inside and outside the NHS, the key task of improving health and reducing inequalities through their Health Improvement Programmes. If this task is to me manageable, those in the NHS will need to disentangle the many and complex stands involved in understanding the issue of inequality in health. This report attempts to clarify what is known in relationship to one of those issues – equity of access to health care services – and to draw out the policy implications of the research on this topic. Following an overview of methodological issues, research evidence on the extent and cause of inequities of access to services in the following five areas is summarised and analysed: GP consultations, acute care, mental illness, prevention and health promotion and long-term care. The policy and research implications are drawn out and some suggestions for future directions are made. The report is aimed at both policy makers and academics interested in the state of existing research and in designing and implementing their own studies into equity of access.

    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:
    File Function: First version, 1998
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Centre for Health Economics, University of York in its series Working Papers with number 032cheop.

    in new window

    Length: 108 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 1998
    Handle: RePEc:chy:respap:32cheop
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    York Y010 5DD

    Phone: (01904) 321401
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    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.:

    in new window

    1. O'Donnell, Owen & Propper, Carol, 1991. "Equity and the distribution of UK National Health Service resources," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 1-19, May.
    2. Le Grand, Julian, 1991. "The distribution of health care revisited: A commentary on Wagstaff, van Doorslaer and Paci, and O'Donnell and Propper," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 239-245, July.
    3. Le Grand, Julian, 1978. "The Distribution of Public Expenditure: The Case of Health Care," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 45(178), pages 125-142, May.
    4. Martin, Stephen & Smith, Peter, 1996. "Explaining variations in inpatient length of stay in the National Health Service," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 279-304, June.
    5. Eardley, Anne & Elkind, Andrea Knopf & Spencer, Brenda & Hobbs, Patricia & Pendleton, Laura L. & Haran, Dave, 1985. "Attendance for cervical screening--Whose problem?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 955-962, January.
    6. Haynes, Robin, 1991. "Inequalities in health and health service use: Evidence from the general household survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 361-368, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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:chy:respap:32cheop. 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: (Gill Forder)

    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.