Spatial Accessibility of Primary Care in England: A Cross-Sectional Study Using a Floating Catchment Area Method.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To analyze the general practitioners (GPs) with regard to the degree of urbanization, social deprivation, general health, and disability.

DATA SOURCES

Small area population data and GP practice data in England.

STUDY DESIGN

We used a floating catchment area method to measure spatial GP accessibility with regard to the degree of urbanization, social deprivation, general health, and disability.

DATA COLLECTION

Data were collected from the Office for National Statistics and the general practice census and analyzed using a geographic information system.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS

In all, 25.8 percent of the population in England lived in areas with a significant low GP accessibility (mean z-score: -4.2); 27.6 percent lived in areas with a significant high GP accessibility (mean z-score: 7.7); 97.8 percent of high GP accessibility areas represented urban areas, and 31.1 percent of low GP accessibility areas represented rural areas (correlation of accessibility and urbanity: r = 0.59; p<.001). Furthermore, a minor negative correlation with social deprivation was present (r = -0.19; p<.001). Results were confirmed by a multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSION

This study showed substantially differing GP accessibility throughout England. However, socially deprived areas did not have poorer spatial access to GPs.

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