How useful are Primary Care Service Areas? Evaluating PCSAs as a tool for measuring Primary Care Practitioner access
The appropriate delivery of primary care services, an important policy imperative in many developed nations, is contingent on defining appropriate geographies to which these services are delivered. Primary Care Service Area (PCSA) geographies have been created in some countries to facilitate primary care policy making and have been utilized in a large body of research. In spite of their extensive use across rural and urban settings, the usefulness of PCSAs has not been evaluated. In this study, for the first time we put PCSAs to the test by comparing them to another small area geography - Postal Areas, and by exploring their usefulness in measuring relationships between Primary Care Practitioner supply and use. We find while PCSAs are better than Postal Areas in measuring relationships between General Practitioner supply and visits by patients, this relationship shows some heterogeneity across areas.