Objective: Little is known about the association between gout and socioeconomic status (SES). Inequalities in rheumatology provision associated with SES may need to be addressed by health care planners. The aim of this study is to investigate the association of gout and SES in the community at both the individual and area levels.
Methods: Questionnaires were sent to all patients older than age 50 years who were registered with eight general practices in North Staffordshire. Data on individual SES were collected by questionnaire while area SES was measured using the Index of Multiple Deprivation derived from respondents' postcodes. Responders reported their occupation, education and the adequacy of their income; their medical records were searched for consultations for gout.
Results: Of the 348 consultations for gout in this period, at the individual level there was a significant association between gout and income. An association of gout with education was seen only in the unadjusted analyses. No association was found between gout and area level deprivation.
Conclusion: Gout is associated with some aspects of individual level but not area level deprivation. More extensive musculoskeletal services may need to be provided in low income areas, although further research is needed.
Keywords: consultation data; gout; observational study; primary care; questionnaires socioeconomic status.