CCGs have been ranked based on their success in tackling health inequality, following the revelation that 264,000 excess hospitalisations of the socially deprived are costing the NHS £4.8bn a year.
The new inequality indicators are designed to help local NHS managers reduce potentially avoidable A&E admissions arising from social inequality, and were developed by researchers at the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York.
The indicators, which have just been rolled out as part of the NHS CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework, show large differences in inequality performance between different CCGs across the country.
NHS Central Manchester CCG topped the list of the worst CCGs ranked by difference in rate of hospitalisations between richest and poorest areas per 100,000 of population, among other criteria. NHS City and Hackney CCG ranked number one on the best CCG list.
People living in the most deprived fifth of neighbourhoods have 72% more emergency hospital admissions and 20% more planned admissions than people living in the most affluent fifth of neighbourhoods, the study showed.
Miqdad Asaria, from the University of York’s Centre for Health Economics, told Pulse: ‘These kind of hospitalisations are typically things that happen because primary care hasn’t dealt with the problems and GPs are part of primary care and coordinate primary care.
‘So there is something going wrong in the link between primary care and secondary care. We haven’t figured out what it is yet so that is the next stage of our research, we will be looking at the CCGs that are doing well and not so well on equality.’
Dr Mark Spencer, co-chair of New NHS Alliance, argued that primary care funding in areas of high deprivation needs to be reviewed urgently if health inequalities are to be tackled and if the number of hospital admissions from people from areas of high deprivation are to be cut.
He said: ‘Areas of high deprivation require more resources to achieve the same outcome as others – yet the reverse is happening.
‘There is serious under resourcing of primary care in these areas, and significant recruitment and retention issues across primary care professionals. The current funding formulas that prioritise elderly care mean areas of high deprivation and lower life expectancy are receiving proportionally less despite a crucial need for more.’
NHS England said last week that GP practices with a significant percentage of patients who cannot speak English will have separate local arrangements for core funding under new plans under development.