Patients’ lives are being put at risk because of significant differences in the quality of NHS services around the country.
An official report, jointly prepared by NHS England and Public Health England, assessed the performance levels of more than 200 areas nationwide.
The so-called Atlas of Variation found that the quality of early cancer diagnosis, quick stroke treatment and diabetes monitoring differed greatly depending on where a patient lived.
In some areas of Yorkshire for example, cancer caught at stage one or two – when the disease is less developed – made up less than a quarter of diagnoses.
Patient groups have said that clear evidence of a “postcode lottery” was a cause for great concern and that more must be done to bridge the gulf in service performance.
Professor Julia Verne, from Public Health England, said: “It is really important to tackle this unwarranted variation because patients’ lives are being put at risk.
“If we can iron them out then more patients will survive, they will have fewer complications and they will have better quality of life.”
The Stroke Association was among a number of charities to weigh into the debate.
Alexis Wieroniey, a policy director, said: “The wide-ranging variation in the time it takes people to be admitted to a stroke unit across England is extremely concerning and it is unacceptable that too many people are still not admitted within four hours.
“Wherever they live, people must have an equal chance in getting the immediate treatment they need to make their best possible recovery from stroke.”
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