Realizing neighbourhood potential? The role of the availability of health care services on contact with a primary care physician

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Access to health services research has traditionally focused on demographic, socioeconomic, and need-based factors, resulting in a relative lack of knowledge regarding place-based determinants. Further, much of what we know comes from international, national, and regional study. This study analyzes survey data (n=1635) to explore the relationship between neighbourhood-level potential access (i.e., availability) and realized access (i.e., use) in two Canadian cities. Controlling for predisposing, enabling and need factors, living in a well-served neighbourhood was a significant predictor of realized access, particularly in Saskatoon. This suggests that the relationship between potential and realized access may be modified by place-based factors.

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