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Geographical planning of primary care in England

A recent article in the journal Primary Health Care Research & Development By Edgar Samarasundera and colleagues discusses the use of socio-demographic data sources for monitoring local health profiles and for use in the geographical planning of primary health care in England. The article updates an older paper published in the BMJ in 1995.

There is an increasing range of resources available for geographical analyses in health. The 2001 census introduced important changes to what routine data are available, as will the 2011 census. These changes have been paralleled by developments in the availability of socio-demographic indicators and the increasing popularity of geographic information systems. Health data can now be combined with those from socio-demographic more efficiently to produce value-added datasets.

Recent and planned developments in the availability of both socio-demographic datasets in tandem with parallel developments in spatial technologies have provided a flexible, potent geographical methodology for primary health care research and development. The current consultation process for the 2011 census provides those involved with primary health care research and development an opportunity to influence future developments.

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