What is Access?

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This paper sets out a framework of access, with a particular focus on access to services. Previous research has examined dimensions of access, often in terms of a particular field and with an emphasis on the consumer. The work of Penchansky and Thomas (1981) has been drawn on for decades, with its 'five As' of access: availability, accessibility, accommodation, affordability and acceptability. In this paper we expand the scope of these access dimensions, consider both the consumer and producer perspectives, and frame the dimensions in terms of a spectrum of accessibility. The framework includes eight dimensions of access: time, space, price, quantity, quality, acceptability, information and awareness.