The 'inverse care law' states that 'the availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served' i.e. rich, healthier people, in more affluent areas tend to get better health care than poorer, sicker people in less well-off areas. This applies even in the NHS, perhaps because better-off people tend to be more assertive in demanding and defending better health services. A study of 725 people in Sheffield examined whether people were offered psychotherapy and which kind of therapy they were offered and compared this with their postcodes which were used as a way of measuring how well-off they were. The researchers found that there was no link between how well-off people were and whether they were offered psychotherapy or not or between their financial circumstances and which kind of psychotherapy (psychoanalysis or cognitive behaviour therapy) they were offered suggesting that the inverse care law did not apply in these circumstances.
Saxon, David - Psychotherapy provision, socioeconomic deprivation, and the inverse care law Psychotherapy Research September 2007; 17(5): 515-521