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Health inequalities could be reduced by more effective healthcare, says new study
Date:10/31/2012

Wide differences in death rates from disease still persist throughout England but effective healthcare can help to reduce these inequalities, a new study has discovered.

Researchers from the University of Leicester led a two-year project funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) into why differences in death rates from diseases like heart disease, strokes, lung disease and cancers still persist.

They found that age and poverty were among the biggest factors that accounted for the differences but they also discovered that effective delivery of healthcare could lessen the impact of these health inequalities.

The research, published in PLOS ONE and funded by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Research and Care (CLAHRC) for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, was led by a University of Leicester team including Louis S Levene, honorary clinical fellow, John Bankart, lecturer in medical statistics, Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine and Richard Baker, Professor of Quality in Health Care and Director of the NIHR CLAHRC.

Dr Levene, a full time GP, said: "Our research examined the wide variations in death rates from major diseases between different areas in England, despite an overall steady decline.

"Our aim is to better understand what factors, particularly in the delivery of healthcare, might explain these variations in death rates. This knowledge could help local health authorities to focus on those measures (such as detecting more people with high blood pressure) that are more likely to reduce these 'health inequalities' over time and to tailor the delivery of these measures to the needs of the local population.

"Looking across all the primary care trusts in England, the main predictors of variations in death rates were population characteristics, especially age and socio-economic deprivation. However, the study showed tha
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Contact: Steve Levene
lsl7@le.ac.uk
44-011-629-58282
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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