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Poorer older patients 'are prescribed too few statins'

Poorer, older patients from ethnic minorities are prescribed too few statins, an analysis of 132 GP practices from four PCTs has found. And single-handed practices are less likely than multiple-GP surgeries to prescribe the lipid-lowering agents.

There was a significant mismatch in the study between the expected level of statin prescribing derived from the age-sex profile of GP practice populations, and the actual prescribing rates derived from PACT data.

And there was huge variation between practices. For the same level of patient health care needs, some practices were prescribing twice as many statins as others.

The analysis found that the higher the proportion of ethnic minorities in the practice, the more deprived the population, and the higher the number of patients over 75, the lower the rate of prescribing. There was also a higher rate of statin prescribing associated with hospital diagnoses of CHD and with procedures carried out in hospital for CHD.

International Journal for Equity in Health 2007; 6: 2.

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