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N Z Med J. 1991 Aug 14;104(917):337-9.

Where have all the doctors gone? (2). Intraurban trends: changes in the geographic distribution of general practitioners in Auckland, 1980-7.

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University of Canterbury, Christchurch.


During the 1980s the Auckland metropolitan area increased its share of all general practitioners in New Zealand at a much faster rate than its share of the population, resulting in a high level of availability by 1987. In the light of such trends, neoclassical theory would predict a diffusion of general practitioners into areas with fewer doctors where there is less competition for patients. Data for 1980-7, however, indicates that for every FTE general practitioner who located in doctor poor areas of the city, 1.87 general practitioners continued to open practices in areas already well provided for. Or, for every extra consultation that took place in low income suburbs, 1.51 extra consultations occurred in more affluent localities. These results do not provide strong support for a market led diffusion of doctors into areas of need and any gains in increased equity appear to have been achieved at the expense of considerable inefficiency given the likely presence of induced demand.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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