Thursday, February 10, 2011
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Chris Pike (Co-operation & Competition Panel) offers An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of GP Competition.
ABSTRACT: We analyse the relationship between the quality of a GP practice in England and the degree of competition that it faces (as indicated by the number of nearby rival GP practices). We find that those GP practices that are located close to other rival GP practices provide a higher quality of care than that provided by GP practices that lack competitors. This higher level of quality is observed firstly in an indicator of clinical quality (referrals to secondary care for conditions that are treatable within primary care), and secondly in an indicator of patient observed quality (patient satisfaction scores obtained from the national GP patient survey). The association between increased competition and higher quality is found for GP practices located within 500 metres of each other. However it would appear that the magnitude and geographic scope of the relationship are constrained by restrictions upon patient choice. As a resu! lt the findings presented here may only reflect a fraction of the potential benefits to patients from increased choice and competition.