Variations in NHS performance are linked to poverty says a King’s Fund report published today. The report authors, John Appleby and Jo-Ann Mulligan surveyed all 120 health authorities and boards in Britain and the results were ranked according to their performance. This gave a single measure of health and health care for each area of the country.The report ‘How well is the NHS performing?’ shows that just over 40 per cent of the differences from one area to another could be linked to the amount of poverty experienced by people living in them. The rest, it argues, could be due to differences in the quality of NHS care, in access to NHS services, and in other factors influencing health, such as pollution levels or education.
The findings are in line with the cross-departmental review of Government intervention in deprived areas which built on the results of the consultation on the framework National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. The review was carried out as part of the Spending Review 2000. The Government’s response to the review is to give departments explicit targets for improving life in deprived areas. It is claimed that less crime, better education, more jobs and improved health will lead to a narrowing of the gap between the poorest areas and the national average
An aim of the National Plan for the NHS due to be published this week will be to reduce variations in care, access and quality from one part of the country to another.