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Do waiting times matter in primary care? GP visits and list sizes in England

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  • Matthew Polisson

Abstract

This paper is largely motivated by the empirical observation that GP visits per person under the NHS have increased in England since the mid-1970s, while list sizes have decreased over the same period A hypothesis consistent with this observation is that larger list sizes are associated with longer waiting times, which reduce the demand for GP visits. Using a time series of repeated cross sections from 1972 to 2004, we construct a pseudopanel of synthetic individuals and find very little evidence that list sizes affect visit frequencies. While there are mild associations consistent with the waiting-time hypothesis among working-age women, there are none for men or the elderly, and no associations are robust to the cohort analysis. The demand for GP visits is most likely driven by health status, and for women, childbirth.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Polisson, 2011. "Do waiting times matter in primary care? GP visits and list sizes in England," Economics Series Working Papers 541, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:541
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper541.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Parkin & Nigel Rice & Matthew Sutton, 1999. "Non- and semi-parametric estimation of age and time heterogeneity in repeated cross-sections: an application to self-reported morbidity and general practitioner utilization 1," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(5), pages 429-440.
    2. Besley, Timothy & Hall, John & Preston, Ian, 1999. "The demand for private health insurance: do waiting lists matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 155-181, May.
    3. Richard Blundell & Frank Windmeijer, 2000. "Identifying demand for health resources using waiting times information," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(6), pages 465-474.
    4. 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.
    5. Martin, Stephen & Rice, Nigel & Jacobs, Rowena & Smith, Peter, 2007. "The market for elective surgery: Joint estimation of supply and demand," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 263-285, March.
    6. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Health services; General practitioners; List sizes; Waiting;

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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