Working paper 00/020 - Abstract

Waiting Times for Hospital Admissions: the Impact of GP Fundholding

Carol Propper, Bronwyn Croxson and Arran Shearer*

*NBER, Stanford

Waiting times for hospital care are a significant issue in the UK National Health Service. The reforms of the health service in 1990 gave a subset of family doctors (GP fundholders) both the ability to choose the hospital where their patients were treated and the means to pay for some services. One of the key factors influencing family doctors' choice of hospital was patient waiting time. However, without cash inducements, hospitals would get no direct reward from giving shorter waiting times to a subset of patients. Using a unique data set we investigate whether GP fundholders were able to secure shorter waiting times for their patients, whether they were able to do so in cases where they had no financial rewards to offer hospitals, and whether the impact of fundholding spilled over into shorter waiting times for all patients.

Published in Journal of Health Economics 21 (1) 227-252 (2002)

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