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From the same journal

The impact of waiting time on patient outcomes: Evidence from Early Intervention in Psychosis services in England

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Publication details

JournalHealth Economics
DateAccepted/In press - 15 Jun 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 16 Jul 2018
Number of pages16
Early online date16/07/18
Original languageEnglish


Recently, new emphasis was put on reducing waiting times in mental health services as there is an ongoing concern that longer waiting time for treatment leads to poorer health outcomes. However, little is known about delays within the mental health service system and its impact on patients. We explore the impact of waiting times on patient outcomes in the context of Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services in England from April 2012 to March 2015. We use the Mental Health Services Data Set and the routine outcome measure the Health of the Nation Outcome Scale. In a generalised linear regression model, we control for baseline outcomes, previous service use and treatment intensity to account for possible endogeneity in waiting time. We find that longer waiting time is significantly associated with a deterioration in patient outcomes 12 months after acceptance for treatment for patients that are still in EIP care. Effects are strongest for waiting times longer than 3 months and effect sizes are small to moderate. Patients with shorter treatment periods are not affected. The results suggest that policies should aim to reduce excessively long waits in order to improve outcomes for patients waiting for treatment for psychosis.

    Research areas

  • waiting times, mental health, psychosis, routine outcome measures, treatment intensity

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