Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

The 51st Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Neurology

Regional disparities on medical care for neurological diseases in Aomori prefecture

Masahiko Tomiyama, M.D.

Stroke Unit and Department of Neurology, Aomori Prefectural Central Hospital

The population and the area of Aomori prefecture are 1,380 thousands and 9,644 km2, respectively. Aomori prefecture geographically and economically forms an independent medical district. However, only 29 neurological specialists attended work in Aomori Prefecture. The numbers of neurological specialists per 100,000 people and per 100 km2 were 2.1 and 0.3 in Aomori, respectively, whereas those of Tokyo metropolitan area were 5.9 and 34.9, and their nationwide averages were 3.6 and 1.2, respectively. Although Aomori prefecture is divided into six medical service areas, neurologists were eccentrically-located in three cities; Aomori, Hirosaki and Hachinohe. No neurologists give full-time service in three of the six areas. The percentage of people having medical care certificate for six specified neurological disorders (multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinocerebellar degeneration, Parkinson disease and related disorders, and multisystem atrophy) in Aomori was comparable to the nationwide average. However, the number of patients with the certificate of multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis in areas with neurologist's service were 11.4 and 12.0 per 100,000 people, respectively, whereas those of area without full-time neurologist's service were 9.9 and 9.2, (significant lower). The patients living in the area without neurologist's service received medical care by neurologists less frequently when compared to those living in area with neurologist's service. Forty-five percent of the patients living in the area without neurologist's service went out of their living areas to see neurologists regularly. Thus, neurologists in Aomori prefecture are under strain to provide medical services. People in Aomori prefecture do not receive sufficient neurological services, especially in the area where no neurologists attend work. In addition, patients living in area without neurologist's service bear greater burden to go to hospital.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (324K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 50: 1063|1065, 2010)
key words: Aomori Prefecture, health disparity, regional disparity, intractable disease, specified neurological disorders

(Received: 22-May-10)