The Resource Allocation Working Party concluded that standardised mortality ratios are the best available indicators of geographical variations in morbidity. In this paper we give the results of a statistical analysis of the relationship between mortality and two indicators of morbidity, obtained from the 1971 census, for three age groups. The level of aggregation in the data is comparable with that at district or area level. Strong linear relationships are obtained, suggesting that it is reasonable to use mortality data in the RAWP formulae in applications at area of district level. However, this method of resource allocation should not be used in isolation from planning. A possible solution which reduces conflict between the two approaches is to incorporate mortality data in the planning indicators used to establish relative need and, in addition, to take due account of established patterns of service and local circumstances.
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