Journal article

Hours worked by general practitioners and waiting times for primary care

Megha Swami, Hugh Gravelle, Anthony Scott, Jenny Williams

HEALTH ECONOMICS | WILEY | Published : 2018

Abstract

The decline in the working hours of general practitioners (GPs) is a key factor influencing access to health care in many countries. We investigate the effect of changes in hours worked by GPs on waiting times in primary care using the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life longitudinal survey of Australian doctors. We estimate GP fixed effects models for waiting time and use family circumstances to instrument for GP's hours worked. We find that a 10% reduction in hours worked increases average patient waiting time by 12%. Our findings highlight the importance of GPs' labor supply at the intensive margin in determining the length of time patients must wait to see their doctor.