A council has won a national grant to undertake a five-month inquiry into inequalities in primary care funding, following an HSJ exposé last year.

North Lincolnshire council's healthier communities and older people scrutiny panels have won a share of a£30,000 grant from the Centre for Public Scrutiny to investigate further the relationship between deprivation and GP practice based commissioning budget allocations.

The council's winning proposal was based on an HSJ investigation which found that across England, GPs covering the wealthiest tenth of the population were, on average, 2 per cent overfunded while those covering the poorest tenth were 2 per cent underfunded.

In some primary care trust areas GP practices lost 1 per cent of the funds that they were due for every two-point increase in their levels of ill health and social deprivation.

The relationship was less extreme in North Lincolnshire where there is a 1 per cent loss of funds for every three-point increase in ill health - but councillors were still concerned about the impact of funding patterns on health inequalities.

The inquiry is supported by North Lincolnshire PCT as well as the local involvement network for the area.