Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Underprivileged areas: validation and distribution of scores.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 08 December 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:1587
  1. B Jarman


    Underprivileged areas were identified by weighting several census variables that relate to social conditions, by using weights determined by means of a questionnaire sent to one in 10 of the general practitioners in the United Kingdom. The weighted variables were added (after statistical manipulation) to give a score for each of the 9265 electoral wards in England and Wales. Blank ward maps were sent to general practitioners in five family practitioner committee areas and they were asked to shade the wards according to the degree to which the population increased their workload or the pressure on their services. Maps of these same areas were then prepared by using the calculated scores with the cut off points between the worst, the intermediate, and the best areas as on those used by the general practitioners. The two sets of maps were then compared to determine how well the maps that were based on scores agreed with the general practitioners' maps showing their assessment of the variation of workload in their areas. Overall, 6.3% of the wards differed in shading in any way between the two sets of maps. In the three areas where the general practitioners shaded complete wards and did not report having difficulties with shading only 1.2% of the wards differed. It may be possible to use these "underprivileged area" scores to indicate where problems occur for general practitioners and to extend this work to other primary health care workers.