Targets and Waiting Times: Exploiting a Quasi-Experiment to Evaluate the Use of Targets in the Provision of Health Care in the UK

Posted: 22 Jun 2007

See all articles by Carol Propper

Carol Propper

Imperial College London Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO)

Matthew Sutton

University of Aberdeen - Health Economics Research Unit

Carolyn Whitnall

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO)

Frank Windmeijer

University of Bristol - Department of Economics; University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO); Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) - Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

Objective: To estimate the effect of the English target regime on waiting times for hospital care.

Design: Comparative analysis of two sources of data: published monitoring data and hospital episode data, which is not used for monitoring purposes. Setting and participants: Patients waiting for admission to all specialties in NHS hospitals in England and Scotland between June 1997 and March 2004.

Main outcome measures: Percentages of patients waiting over 6, 9 and 12 months.

Results: The size of the waiting list is very sensitive to the data used to measure this list. Data which is published in Scotland show lower proportions waiting than comparable data which is not published. Episode data give a picture which lies between that from the published and unpublished census data. Comparison between England and Scotland are therefore sensitive to which data are used in the comparison. But regardless of which source of data is used, the 'targets and terror' regime in England lowered the proportion of people waiting for elective treatment relative to Scotland.

Conclusions: The strong focus on waiting times in England had the effect of reducing the length of time individuals had to wait for treatment. Reliance on published data reduces the apparent impact of the policy. There is a clear need for publication of comparable data in the two countries to aid policy making.

Keywords: Waiting Times, Policy Targets, Quasi-Experiment

JEL Classification: I18

Suggested Citation

Propper, Carol and Sutton, Matthew and Whitnall, Carolyn and Windmeijer, Frank, Targets and Waiting Times: Exploiting a Quasi-Experiment to Evaluate the Use of Targets in the Provision of Health Care in the UK (2007). iHEA 2007 6th World Congress: Explorations in Health Economics Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=994625

Carol Propper

Imperial College London Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) ( email )

12 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TN
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Economics/department/profiles/propper.htm

Matthew Sutton

University of Aberdeen - Health Economics Research Unit ( email )

United Kingdom
+44 (0)1224-553480/553733 (Phone)
+44 (0)1224-550926 (Fax)

Carolyn Whitnall

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) ( email )

12 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TN
United Kingdom

Frank Windmeijer (Contact Author)

University of Bristol - Department of Economics ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) ( email )

12 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TN
United Kingdom

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) - Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice

7 Ridgmount Street
London WC1E 7AE, WC1E 7 AE
United Kingdom

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