An analogy between socioeconomic deprivation level and loss of health from adverse effects of medical treatment in England

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Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to show whether and how levels, trends and patterns obtained from estimates of premature deaths from adverse effects (AEs) of medical treatment depended on the deprivation level in England over the 24-year period, 1990–2013. We provide a report to inform decision-making strategies to reduce the burden of disease arising from AEs of medical treatment in the most deprived areas of the country.

Methods

Comparative analysis was driven by a single cause-of-injury category—AEs of medical treatment—from the Global Burden of Disease 2013 study. We report the mean values with 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs) for five socioeconomic deprivation areas of England.

Results

In the most deprived areas of England, the death rate declined from 2.27 (95% UI 1.65 to 2.57) to 1.54 (1.28 to 2.08) deaths (32.16% change). The death rate in the least deprived areas was 1.22 (0.88 to 1.38) in 1990; it was 1.17 (0.97 to 1.59) in 2013 (4.1% change). Regarding disability-adjusted life year (DALY) rates, the same trend is observed. Although the gap between the most deprived and least deprived populations of England narrowed with regards to number of deaths, and rates of deaths and DALYs from AEs of medical treatment, inequalities between marginal levels of deprivation remain.

Conclusions

The study suggests that a relationship between deprivation level and health loss from the AEs of medical treatment across England is possible. This could then be used when devising and prioritising health policies and strategies.

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