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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


PEIRO, Salvador; MENEU, Ricard  and  BERNAL-DELGADO, Enrique. Effectiveness, variation and inequalities: Histerectomies and prostatectomies due to neoplasm in Spain (2002-2004). Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.83, n.1, pp.109-121. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background. Debates about equity in the utilization of health services often omit whether inequalities are observed in effective and safe procedures or they are experienced in treatments dubiously effective. This work tries to illustrate the difference between inequality and inequity in the health services research field. Methods. Ecologic study on the standardized rates of surgical interventions in uterus and prostate cancer, produced between 2002 and 2004 in 180 healthcare areas in Spain. Socioeconomic variables: public beds per 100,000 inh, economic level, unemployment rate (population between 25 and 49), bank offices per 1,000 inh., and proportion of illiterate or persons with no studies. To estimate inequality statistics for Small Area Analysis were used; to determine the effect of socioeconomic factors, ANOVA and Linear Multiple Regression were modelled. Results. 12,178 admissions for hysterectomy (2.19 per 10,000 women) and 13,416 prostatectomies (2.47 per 10,000 men) were analysed. All the statistics showed higher variation (inequality) in prostate cancer. Hysterectomy rates were not related with socioeconomic factors as oppose as prostatectomy: higher rates were related with living in areas with bigger centres (ß=0.89, p <0.001), with more economic level (ß=0.72, p=0.004) and less rate of illiterate persons (with regard to the tertile, ßt2=0.75, p=0,002; ßt3=0.57, p=0,044). Conclusion. Inequalities in the utilization of healthcare services do not necessarily imply inequity. In prostatectomy due to prostate cancer, an uncertain procedure in terms of effectiveness, the observed inequalities against poorer areas, should not be interpreted as a symptom of inequity.

Keywords : Equity; Inequalities; Clinical practice variation; Small area analysis; Hysterectomy; Prostatectomy; Neoplasm.

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