Arch Dis Child 98:60-65 doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-302041
  • Reviews

Unwarranted variation in health care for children and young people

Editor's Choice
  1. J A Muir Gray2
  1. 1Deptartment of Paediatrics, St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK.
  2. 2NHS QIPP Right Care, Department of Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ronny Cheung, Department of Paediatrics, St Thomas’ Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK; crcheung{at}
  • Received 14 March 2012
  • Revised 26 July 2012
  • Accepted 30 July 2012
  • Published Online First 18 August 2012


The study of geographical variation in healthcare has moved on since J Allison Glover's seminal study in 1938, and its value in highlighting inequity in access, quality and outcomes is well-established. Study of variation in healthcare for children, however, has proven more difficult due to barriers with data and idiosyncrasies in how we measure outcomes for children and families. This paper is a narrative review of unwarranted variations in healthcare for children, and discusses the potential of variation analysis to help researchers and policy makers improve child health services.

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