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Independents' Day

GP shortage hits poor hardest ­ Wanless

A shortage of GPs in deprived communities contributes to significant inequalities in public health, according to an influential report by Government health adviser Derek Wanless.

Patients in greatest need

often have the poorest access to GPs and specialists, according to former NatWest bank chief executive Mr Wanless, who was hired by Chancellor Gordon Brown to lead a far-reaching review into NHS funding.

The Wanless report on population health trends, published last week, also highlighted gaps in treatment of hypertension. It said 37.5 per cent of the adult population was classified as hypertensive ­ blood pressure of 140/90 or above ­ but only one in three of them was receiving treatment.

Untreated hypertension is significantly more prevalent in deprived communities, affecting 33 per cent of men in the lowest social class compared to 28 per cent in the highest, the report added ­ and there had been no significant improvement in the proportion of hypertensives getting treatment between 1998 and 2001.

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