People in the poorest areas of Britain suffer from lower standards of NHS primary care, according to a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

It cites Office for National Statistics data showing that men and women in affluent Moreton Hall in Suffolk have a combined life expectancy of 93, compared with 68 in the dockland area of Middlesbrough.

The report, Closing the Gap, concludes that “many primary care services, including GP practices, do not follow proven practice consistently”.

In particular, it notes that GPs in deprived areas are less likely to record whether someone has cardiovascular disease, and that “we cannot rest while health inequalities exist on the scale they do”.

The report says that financial incentives for GPs must be increased “to encourage doctors to help manage the cholesterol levels of more patients”.

Although the 2004 target of cutting total deaths among people under 75 by at least 40 per cent by 2010 has been met, CQC chairwoman Baroness Young said: “Resting on our laurels is not an option.”