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The Utilization of GP Services in England: An Economic Analysis

By P. McGregor, P. McKee and C. O'Neill

Abstract

In this paper we examine utilization of general practitioner services within the context of a standard utility maximizing model. We focus on the role of health status and income in determining GP utilization. English data from wave eleven of the British Household Panel Survey are used to explain visits and estimate the extent of non-essential visits. An ordered probit analysis is used to estimate relationships between health, income and utilization; severity is accounted for with reference to data on outpatient utilization. The extent of over consumption is estimated at approximately 5%. This is significantly less than that estimated by other commentators and undermines the justification of radical policies such as GP charges.hrb

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