One in 25 people who die of a heart attack in the north-east of England could have survived if the average cardiologist effectiveness was raised to the London level, research shows.
The research, undertaken by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), looked at the record of over 500,000 NHS patients in the UK, over 13 years. It highlights the stark “postcode lottery” of how people living in some parts of the country have access to lower quality healthcare.
The results found that while cardiologists treating patients in London and the south-east had the best survival rates among heart attack patients, patients being treated in the north-east and east of England had the worst.
Among 100 otherwise identical patients, an additional six patients living in the north-east and east of England would have survived for at least a year if they had instead been treated by a similar doctor in London.
Furthermore, if the effectiveness of doctors treating heart attacks in these areas of the country were just as effective as the cardiologists in London, an additional 80 people a year in each region would survive a heart attack.
The research also revealed a divide between rural and urban areas of England, with patients living in the former typically receiving treatment from less effective doctors compared with those in more urban areas.
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Source: The Guardian, 9 August 2022