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Journal Article

The impact of long-term care on primary care doctor consultations for people over 75 years


Publication date

05 Sep 2018


Many countries are adopting policies to create greater coordination and integration between acute and long-term care services. This policy is predicated on the assumption that these service areas have interdependent outcomes for patients. In this paper, we study the interdependencies between the long-term (home care) services and consultations with a primary care doctor, as used by people over 75 years. Starting with a model of individual’s demand for doctor consultations, given supply, we formalize the hypothesis that exogenous increases to home care supply will reduce the number of consultations where these services are technical substitutes. Furthermore, greater coordination of public service planning and use of pooled budgets could lead to better outcomes because planners can account for these externalities. We test our main hypothesis using data from the British Household Panel Study for 1991–2009. To address potential concerns about endogeneity, we use a set of instrumental variables for home care motivated by institutional features of the social care system. We find that there is a statistically significant substitution effect between home care and doctor visits, which is robust across a range of specifications. This result has implications for policies that consider increased coordination between health care and social care systems.

Published in

European Journal of Health Economics





Older People, Medicine, Economics, Public Policy, and Health


Open Access; This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.; © The Author(s) 2018; Online Early


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