Working Paper 13/306 - abstract

Does quality affect patients’ choice of doctor? Evidence from the UK (PDF, 716kB)

Rita Santos, Hugh Gravelle and Carol Propper

Provider competition is a currently popular healthcare reform model. A necessary condition for greater competition to improve quality is that providers will face higher demand if they improve their quality. We test this crucial assumption in an important part of the health care market using data on the choices made by 3.4 million English patients from amongst nearly 1000 family doctor practices. We find that patients do respond to quality: a one standard deviation increase in a publicly available measure of clinical quality would increase the number of patients a practice would attract by around 15%.