"Also, for each 1% increase in the percentage of patients recalling being better able to see their preferred doctor, there was a decrease in lung disease death rates of 0.7% and in cancer death rates of 0.3%. These effects are independent of the other factors studied. Variation in the performance of GPs was generally not associated with variations in death rates."
Dr Levene said that, previously, it has not been entirely understood why there are still such variations in death rates in different primary care trusts in England.
He added: "This study successfully tested a new conceptual model that variations in death rates are mainly predicted by variations in the characteristics of populations, but that these effects are altered by some healthcare activities."
Professor Richard Baker, Director of the NIHR CLAHRC and based in the University of Leicester Department of Health Sciences added: "At a time of big changes to how the NHS, especially in the community, will deliver healthcare and associated financial constraints, those who commission healthcare need information about what aspects of healthcare are most likely to benefit the health of populations as a whole. Despite the universal provision of healthcare by the NHS, there remain huge variations in health outcomes.
"This study reminds us all of persisting health inequalities, and challenges for the future of healthcare. Health inequalities are mainly predicted by variations in the characteristics of local populations; healthcare can only partly combat this effect, but it is important that it does so through interventions that include measuring blood pressure, and offering a service that enables people who want to to see the same doctor.
"Healthcare system reforms should therefore aim to deliver cost
|Contact: Steve Levene|
University of Leicester