Working paper 03/064 - Abstract

The Effects of Budgets on Doctors Behaviour: Evidence from a Natural Experiment (PDF, file 793 KB) (PDF, 794kB)

Mark Dusheiko, Hugh Gravelle, Rowena Jacobs and Peter Smith

In many health care systems primary care physicians act as 'gatekeepers' to secondary care. We investigates the impact of the UK fundholding scheme under which general practices could elect to hold a budget to meet the costs of elective surgery for their patients. We use a differences in differences methodology on a large four year panel of English general practices before and after the abolition of fundholding. Fundholding incentives reduced fundholder elective admission rates by 3.3% and accounted for 57% of the difference between fundholder and nonfundholder elective admissions, with 43% a selection effect due to unobservable differences in practice characteristics. Fundholding had no effect on emergency admissions.

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