Background: Recently, research focus has returned to amenable mortality to health care, despite the decreasing trend, as it remains a significant contributor to social and economic loss due to premature death. This article assesses the trends of amenable mortality over time and, its spatial inequalities with respect to deprivation, in Hungary.
Methods: An ecological analysis of mortality amenable to health care was carried out using smoothed indirectly standardized mortality ratios, calculated by full hierarchical Bayesian methods, at municipality level. The association between the spatial distribution of amenable mortality and deprivation was also assessed using a Hungarian specific deprivation index.
Results: Trends of mortality amenable to health care were characterized by a decreasing pattern across the studied period, 1996-2008. Areas of significantly high risk of amenable mortality were identified in the North-eastern, Eastern and South-western parts of Hungary. A statistically significant association was found between amenable mortality and deprivation status in both genders. After correcting for bias due to socio-economic confounders, the patterns of areas with excess risks significantly changed.
Conclusion: Differences in deprivation alone cannot explain the spatial distribution of mortality amenable to health care. This study highlights the importance of exploring other factors (e.g. health-care system and individual life style) beyond socio-economic status, which affect health inequalities particularly for health policy makers, who are responsible for the mitigation of health disparities.