STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to assess the extent to which a range of routinely available need indicators which have been suggested for use in NHS spatial resource allocation formulas were associated geographically in England with the different dimensions of population health status collected in the 1985/86 Health and Lifestyle Survey (HLS). DESIGN--Regional health authorities were ranked according to each of the HLS health variables which varied significantly between authorities. The HLS health variables were regressed on a selection from the range of routinely available morbidity and socioeconomic indicators available from the 1981 census. The potential need indicators were also regressed on the health variables. SETTING--The analyses were undertaken at individual level and at regional health authority level in England. SUBJECTS--The study comprised the English component of the HLS random sample representative of the population in private households in Great Britain. MAIN RESULTS--The different HLS health variables did not yield consistent regional health authority rankings. Among the variables, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and self assessed health appeared to be associated with most of the other health and need variables except longstanding illness. Longstanding illness was not strongly associated with any of the other HLS health variables but appeared to show some association with three deprivation indices constructed from the 1981 Census. CONCLUSIONS--There may be a case for including a measure of chronic ill health in the new NHS system of capitated finance in addition to the all cause standardised mortality ratio which is used currently as a measure of need for health care.
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