The findings of two academic projects – EQUALISE and FAIRSTEPS – have been brought together to produce a toolkit for addressing unequal access to primary care.
Addressing inequalities in primary care is crucial for achieving high-quality healthcare for all. Primary care serves as the foundation of the healthcare system, being the first point of contact for most people seeking help. But unequal access to these services can perpetuate health inequalities. By addressing issues of access, we can ensure that everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, gender, or geographic location, has an equal chance of comprehensive and timely care.
Two academic groups have independently looked at what works to address inequalities in and through primary care. EQUALISE (led by Dr John Ford of Queen Mary’s Clinical Effectiveness Group) and FAIRSTEPS have produced a solution-focused toolkit that brings together the findings of the two studies to describe what equitable primary care looks like, and provide practical steps to help local decision makers address inequalities in health and healthcare.
Based on an 18-month review of published research, the EQUALISE study identified five guiding principles which mark equitable general practice:
The EQUALISE study has been published in The Lancet Public Health. EQUALISE is a collaboration between University of Cambridge and Cambridge Public Health, led by Dr John Ford of Queen Mary’s Clinical Effectiveness Group, with funding from NIHR Health and Social Care Delivery Research programme (NIHR 130694).
The FAIRSTEPS study provides an evidence-informed framework of four steps to guide the commission, design and delivery of interventions in primary care that aim to address health inequalities.
The study also provides a set of practical examples of interventions, prioritised by practitioners and patients, that have been tried and tested. FAIRSTEPS is led by the University of Sheffield. The work was commissioned by Health Education England and supported by Deep End General Practice Networks. More information about FAIRSTEPS is available via the University of Sheffield website.
Dr John Ford and team give an insight into the development and recommendations of the toolkit.