What is it about?

Emergency health care should be accessible for everyone, regardless of when or where it is needed. However, rural populations tend to have poorer accessibility than urban populations. We show that such disparities may be obscured due to how accessibility is conceptualized and measured.

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Why is it important?

In light of ongoing centralization of health care, driven by claims of efficiency, our results show how planning needs to be critical towards how problems are conceptualized and measured. We show that planning may favor urban populations while obscuring the challenges of rural populations. Planning of emergency health care may, unknowingly, generate inequities in access which carries with it increasing health risks for rural populations. It may also contribute to increasing divergence of opinion between urban and rural areas, as it is questionable whether current planning is just or fair.


I hope this article shines a light on how rural populations may be disfavoured by planning underpinned by seemingly harmless quantitative measures. In times of increasing divergence and polarization of political opinion, my hope is that studies such as this can help to generate an understanding of why individuals in urban and rural areas have increasingly contrasting opinions of what the problem is - and what needs to be done.

Jacob Hassler
Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Socio-spatial disparities in access to emergency health care—A Scandinavian case study, PLoS ONE, December 2021, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261319.
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