Health Inequalities Gap Measurement Tool


Click here to go to the gap tool


UPDATE (June 2011): Now includes mortality data for 2001 to 2009


(New users are advised to read the user guide - which can be accessed via the link at the bottom of this page - before using the gap tool for the first time.)

What the gap tool does


The Health Inequalities Gap Measurement Tool (the ‘gap tool’) provides detailed information on the nature and extent of health inequalities across England. It shows inequality gaps in mortality rates within and between areas by grouping local populations according to relative levels of deprivation.

Results are available for all Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts, as well as for Strategic Health Authorities, regions and England as a whole. Users can select a wide range of comparisons. For example, mortality rates for the most deprived parts of an area can be displayed alongside the rates for the least deprived parts, illustrating the inequality gap between them.

The gap tool can be used to support planning and commissioning to reduce health inequalities by giving users the means to:

  • identify the causes of death with the largest inequality gaps within areas
  • see the age groups with the greatest absolute and relative gaps in mortality
  • compare the overall mortality profiles for different areas
  • view the ‘direction of travel’ for mortality rates and the local inequality gap.


The gap tool can be used alongside the Health Inequalities Intervention Toolkit and the Health Inequality Indicators for Local Authorities and Primary Care Organisations to provide a comprehensive overview of the nature and extent of health inequalities at a local level.

How to use the gap tool


The gap tool can be accessed via the link at the top of this page. To begin, use the map to select one of the nine English regions.

  • Step 1: Using the drop-down menus, select the primary area you want to display
  • Step 2 (optional): Select the comparator area you want to display – you can choose the national or regional average, or another NHS or Local Authority area in the region you have selected
  • Step 3: Select a group (persons, males or females) and confidence level
  • Step 4: Select a cause of death – you can choose from 17 cause of death categories for the quinary age/sex group charts, and all-causes for the trend charts
  • Step 5: Select the deprivation quintile(s) you want to display for your primary and (if selected) comparator area – you can choose from varying combinations of the ‘bottom’ (ie. most deprived), ‘top’ (least deprived), ‘middle 3’, ‘top 4’ (all quintiles except the most deprived) and ‘all’ quintiles
  • Step 6: Select one of the display options – depending on the combination of areas you select, you can choose from a range of options including bar and line charts, mortality profiles and trend charts.


A detailed user guide and technical document can be found here


System requirements

The gap tool is a web-based resource which has been developed using Adobe Flash. You will need to ensure that the Adobe Flash Player v10 or later is available on your computer in order to use the tool (www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer).

The gap tool has been developed by the Department of Health South East, South East Public Health Observatory and London Health Observatory.


Further information: Robert Kyffin, Department of Health South East (robert.kyffin@dh.gsi.gov.uk)
Flash/Actionscript coding: Henry McGuinness, South East Public Health Observatory
Acknowledgements: Hywell Dinsdale (formerly DHSE), Andrew Hughes (SEPHO) and Allan Baker (LHO)