What determines geographical variation in rates of acceptance onto renal replacement therapy in England?

J Health Serv Res Policy. 1999 Jul;4(3):139-46. doi: 10.1177/135581969900400304.


Objective: To determine the independent effects of need and supply factors on the known geographical variation in acceptance rates onto renal replacement therapy (RRT) in England.

Methods: Data were obtained from all renal units in England on the characteristics of all cases aged 16 years and over, resident in England, who were accepted onto RRT in 1991 and 1992. Of these, 5715 (94.5%) had a valid postcode that could be matched to a census ward. Multilevel modelling using Poisson regression was used. The number of acceptances in each census ward within age bands 16-34, 35-64 and 65+ was the dependent variable. Independent effects modelled were: (1) individual factors (age, sex); (2) census ward need factors--ethnicity (expressed as the percentage of the ward population that was Asian or African-Caribbean), socio-economic deprivation--and supply factors--'access' to the nearest renal unit using crowfly and road travel time and distance, and services available to each ward expressed as number of haemodialysis stations per 100,000 catchment population of the nearest renal unit; (3) district health authority level effects.

Results: Age was a major determinant of acceptance, with a 7-fold higher rate in males aged over 64 years compared with younger men. Acceptance rates were lower in females, with a negative age-sex interaction in females aged over 64 years. The percentage of both Asian and African-Caribbean populations per ward was a highly significant positive determinant. Deprivation was also a significant determinant, best represented by a customised index. There was an inverse relation of acceptance with distance, especially road travel time. Other supply side variables had a significant effect though there was no independent district effect. There was some variation in the strength of these relationships by type of area (Greater London, urban and non-urban).

Conclusions: Need and supply factors influence service use as expressed as acceptance onto RRT. Pressure to expand RRT services needs to be aimed at areas with large minority ethnic populations and those living far from existing units.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catchment Area, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • England
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Small-Area Analysis
  • Travel