Posted by: anglopole | July 8, 2008

UK postcodes open and close many doors

I don’t suppose anyone would imagine there is anything special in a sequence of a few letters and digits, or would they? Indeed, if one has lived in the UK for some time, they’d discover that there is some sort of magic in, eg. a code like this MK44 5BY (I’ve made that one up just for illustration). UK postal codes known as postcodes, were being introduced for about 15 years in, more or less, the middle of the last century. The authors of the system probably did not imagine how idolized the postcodes would be one day.

In Poland, there are 5 digit poscodes that mean nothing more but an integral part of an address (letters, parcels will still find their way to an addressee if the poscode was not provided in the given address, btw). Here in the UK they have become more like passwords which are more or less effective in opening various doors to various services or determining one’s safety, as well.


Postcode lottery in NHS (National Health Service)

Patients in England may be denied treatment because of a “postcode lottery” that leaves some areas with up to four times more cash to spend on certain illnesses. That means, if you plan to travel to the UK and settle down here, you should check the postcode you will live at carefully if you are not of perfect health, that is!

Postcode lottery in rape convictions

What on Earth is that? Well, it simply means that in some areas, women who report rape are almost five times less likely to achieve a conviction than in others. For example, Bedfordshire was among the lowest-ranked, securing convictions in just 3.2 per cent of rape cases. Media rightly report this as a national scandal that thousands of victims have no access to justice, and receive unreliable and ineffectual responses when reporting rape. So, if you are a woman and intend to come to study, work or visit Britain, perhaps you should avoid places like Bedfordshire altogether!

Postcode lottery in treatment of children with speech and language difficulties.

In this area too, believe it or not, not every child suffering from dyslexia, for example, has the same access to professional help as kids in other, more privileged locations. It does look like there are third worlds within a first-world country….. Access to information and services is often poor, the quality of services is mixed, continuity across the age range is lacking, joint working is rare and there is just one term to describe it – postcode lottery.

Postcode crime.

In big cities, especially in London, violence can be triggered by someone being in the wrong postcode! Some gangs take their names literally from the postcode for the particular location. For instance S4 gang members would often be against S3 gangsters… (btw 1000 gangs are ruling UK streets)

It does look like there is a lot of gambling going on in the Blighty and it’s not just Bingo sessions for bored housewives! People’s lives are subject to lottery draws of the letters and digits constituting the famous postcodes, which are helpful when using a satnav to find a place we are travelling to, but can be a great hindrance to receive services, fair treatment or simply have a sense of safety.




useful links with either articles or discussions on post code lotteries:

Discussion about post code lotteries in NHS

Who deserves NHS treatment

It\’s not fair that you get a post code lottery


  1. So much easier in the US. There, you either live in a shitty zip code or not.


  2. I bet Americans have a much more relaxed approach to this and many other areas of their lives….


  3. […] UK postcodes open and close many doors 498 views […]


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