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Poor patients in rich countries have fair access to GPs but not to specialists

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7534.138-b (Published 19 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:138
  1. David Spurgeon
  1. Quebec

    Poorer patients in the world's wealthiest and healthiest countries have access to general practitioners equal to—and sometimes even better than—richer patients, but the same is not true of their access to specialists. These are the findings of a study of member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD; CMAJ 2006;174:177-83).

    “This phenomenon seems to be universal, but it is reinforced when private insurance or private care options are offered,” says the report, which used recent data from national surveys or from the European Community household panel.

    “We found inequity in physician utilisation favouring patients who are better off in about half of the OECD countries studied,” the authors say. “The degree of pro-rich inequity in doctor use …

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