The main objective of this paper is to describe how indicators of the equity of access to health care according to socioeconomic conditions may be included in a performance evaluation system (PES) in the regional context level and in the planning and strategic control system of healthcare organisations. In particular, the paper investigates how the PES adopted, in the experience of the Tuscany region in Italy, indicators of vertical equity over time. Studies that testify inequality of access to health services often remain just a research output and are not used as targets and measurements in planning and control systems. After a brief introduction to the concept of horizontal and vertical equity in health care systems and equity measures in PES, the paper describes the ‘equity process’ by which selected health indicators declined by socioeconomic conditions were shared and used in the evaluation of health care institutions and in the CEOs' rewarding system, and subsequently analyses the initial results. Results on the maternal and child path and the chronicity care path not only show improvements in addressing health care inequalities, but also verify whether the health system responds appropriately to different population groups. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.