Mapping Accessibility to General Practitioners

Mapping Accessibility to General Practitioners

Lars Brabyn (University of Waikato, New Zealand) and Paul Gower (University of Waikato, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-042-4.ch017


Accessibility to general practitioners (GPs) is an important health issue that has financial, cultural and geographical dimensions. This chapter concentrates on a Geographical Information System method for assessing geographical accessibility using network analysis but begins with an overall review of health accessibility literature, followed by a more detailed review of GIS solutions to assessing geographical accessibility. A procedure based on ArcInfo software is described and demonstrated using cost path analysis to determine the minimum travel time and distance to the closest GP via a road network. This analysis is applied to approximately 36,000 census centroids in New Zealand and this enables travel time and distance to be linked to the population distribution. Statistics can be generated on what is the average time spent traveling or the average distance traveled if everybody visited a GP once. These statistics can be generated for different management areas and enables comparisons to be made between regions. This accessibility model is intended for decision support for health planners assessing the distribution of GP services. It can also be easily adapted for other services such as access to hospitals and cancer screening centers.

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