Editorials

Formula fever: allocating resources in the NHS

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7114.964 (Published 18 October 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:964

Simple formulas weighted for standardised mortality ratios may still work best

  1. Trevor A Sheldon, Professora
  1. a NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York YO1 5DD

    A new set of weighted capitation formulas are being used for allocating resources to health service “purchasers.” Since the 1970s the NHS has used formulas to promote a more equitable allocation of resources for hospital and community care. The Resource Allocation Working Party (RAWP) recommended that cash should be distributed on the basis of the size and age-sex distribution of an area's population, taking into account relative health care needs as indicated by its standardised mortality ratio.1 This highlighted the fact that the regions in the south of England were receiving more than their fair share of resources and initiated a gradual redistribution to the poorer and sicker north.

    In the 1980s regression analysis was used to estimate the influence of health and socioeconomic factors on health care use.2 Recent research at York University used more statistically appropriate techniques which also adjust better …

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