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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2001): Public Health - UK

EQUITY OF ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE SERVICES: THEORY AND EVIDENCE FROM THE UK

M. Goddard and P. Smith

Social Science and Medicine, vol.53, 2001, p.1149-1162

The extent of inequity of access to healthcare between socio-economic groups in the UK is explored in each of five service areas: general practitioner consultations, acute hospital care, mental health services, preventative medicine and health promotion, and long-term health care. Concludes that there appear to be important inequities in access to some types of health care in the UK, but that the evidence is often methodologically inadequate, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions. In particular, it is difficult to establish the causes of inequities which in turn limits the scope for recommending appropriate policy to reduce inequities of access.

PCTs AND HEALTH IMPROVEMENTS

C Drinkwater

Retford: NHS Alliance, 2001

Concludes that the delivery of public health improvements could be undermined if primary care trusts are swamped by their new commissioning and performance management roles. Calls for PCTs to devolve commissioning to a local level and to strengthen their links with the local community.

TACKLING HEALTH INEQUALITIES: CONSULTATION ON A PLAN FOR DELIVERY

Department of Health

London: 2001

Presents proposals for delivering action on the government's targets to eradicate health inequality. Concentrates on the creation of "strong public health groups" within government offices for the regions, while primary care trusts will drive forward the agenda at a local level. It also stresses the need for partnership working. Health improvement and modernisation plans should be connected with local authority planning processes, and fit with local community strategies and neighbourhood renewal strategies. In addition, local strategic partnerships should put health inequalities at the core of their strategies and devise monitoring arrangements. Paper also outlines work on the development of a "basket of indicators" to track progress towards the achievement of the national health inequalities targets.

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