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Health atlas shows large variations in care in England

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 26 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6809
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Large variations in the level and quality of NHS care in England in a range of clinical areas, including diabetes, stroke, and cancer, have been highlighted in an atlas.

The NHS Atlas of Variation shows the amount each of the 152 primary care trusts spends on various clinical services and links this with the health outcomes patients see. The results are presented in 34 geographical maps. The atlas, produced as part of the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention Programme, aims to stimulate awareness of variations that exist and help commissioners of care make better purchases.

Launching the atlas, the health minister Lord Howe said, “Making this information available to commissioners and patients will help them to identify and address unwarranted variation to better meet the needs of their local populations.”

The atlas shows a sixfold variation between primary care trusts in the emergency admissions rate for asthma among under 18 year olds. Although asthma is influenced by environmental factors, even among trusts in urban London there is a more than …

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