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Researchers rank CCGs by health inequality prevalence

22 August 2016

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Researchers working with NHS England have released a list of the best and worst clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for health inequality, ranking three Manchester CCGs in the top five.

The CCGs are ranked using indicators drawn up by researchers at the University of York for the NHS as part of the Clinical Commissioning Group Improvement and Assessment Framework.

The indicators focus on emergency hospitalisation for patients with long-term conditions such as dementia, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and illustrate health inequalities in these areas.

Previous research has shown that such hospitalisation can be reduced by more effective primary care and outpatient care.

The ranking shows that Central Manchester CCG had the greatest health inequalities in England between April 2015 and April 2016 as the difference in rate of hospitalisations between the richest and poorest areas was 2,136 for every 100,000 people.

Blackburn and Darwen came second with a rate of 2,029 followed by North Manchester (2,017), Islington (1,954) and South Manchester (1,889).

On average, the national level of inequality in these avoidable hospitalisations is 927 per 100,000 people.

In a joint statement the Manchester CCGs said they would “continue their work” to reduce health inequalities in Manchester.

Professor Richard Cookson, the lead investigator on the research project said: “NHS policymakers and managers have a legal duty to consider reducing inequalities.

“However, reliable information on healthcare inequalities is currently scarce: national monitoring focuses on the average patient, and little attention is given to local monitoring of healthcare inequality. 

“These indicators could be used to help managers learn quality improvement lessons, to help regulators and others hold the NHS to account, and to help inform the public about healthcare inequalities within their local area.”

The results also show that health inequalities occur regardless of the deprivation of the area.

For example Liverpool CCG, which appears on the worst performers list, and Tower Hamlets CCG, which appears on the best performers list, each serve some of the most deprived area in the country.

Similarly, in more affluent areas of the country, South Cheshire has a high rate of inequalities, while East Surrey CCG performs well and appears on the top ten list.

Ruth Passman, head of equality and heath inequalities at NHS England, said: “Social inequalities in potentially avoidable emergency hospitalisation impose large and rising costs on the NHS, as well as raising important concerns about social justice.

“For the first time, NHS managers can now find out how well their local CCG area is doing in tackling these inequalities, compared with similar CCG areas, and see how these inequalities are responding to local healthcare initiatives. 

“This will help NHS managers learn about the best ways of reducing costly health emergencies associated with social deprivation.”

The rating for every CCG can be found on this website.