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23
Sep

Think tank urges health leaders to ensure NHS efficiency savings don’t limit investment in innovation


In the first report in a new Health series, the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) has urged health leaders to work to ensure that the £22bn savings being asked of the NHS act to stimulate not prevent innovation.

‘Creating a sustainable 21st century healthcare system’ argues that the NHS should be supported to continue to invest in innovation in order to save more money in the long term.

The report highlights how a ‘perfect storm’ of demographic and wider economic and social trends are converging to push up the cost of healthcare across the globe. It showcases examples of innovation from across the world which could save lives and money if introduced more widely.

The UK’s healthcare system provides a third of the exemplary case studies showcased in the report, but the report suggests that more work needs to be done to share and spread innovation in the UK, and that there’s much to learn from other leading markets such as India, Australia, Europe and the US.

The report points out that the 15 million people who have a long term health condition account for 70% of the total health and care spend in England. Yet across Europe, on average only 3% of healthcare expenditure is allocated to prevention and public health programmes.

The NHS is committed to achieving £22bn efficiency savings through productivity gains of 2% or 3% a year between now and 2020. The ILC-UK research has shown this target will be very challenging without real innovation. The OBR highlight productivity in the health sector only rose by around 1% per annum on average between 1979 and 2010.

The report suggests that a concerted focus on innovation and prevention - developing more empowered health consumers, whilst also maximising the potential of big data - would help to deliver significant savings in the long-term.

Phase two of the report, due out in 2016 will model the impact of applying the leading global innovations showcased in the first report to new markets to highlight the potential global savings of sharing innovation.

Baroness Sally Greengross, ILC-UK Chief Executive says: “Whilst innovation can save money in the long term, it requires up-front investment. And the nature of introducing new or dual systems can mean that for the first few years costs go up and services don’t improve.

“The picture is not as bleak as it may sound, however. Advances in health technology have the potential to significantly influence patient’s access to health care and the way that health care is delivered. Big data can revolutionise the way services are focused on the individual.

“But for us to maximise the potential we have to create a climate for innovation in the health service. We might also accept that if we are to innovate to reduce costs and improve services over the long term, public and private investment is vital. Government must ensure that the £22bn savings being asked of the NHS act to stimulate not prevent innovation.”

Shaun Crawford, EY Global Insurance Sector Leader, which sponsored the report, adds: “This report has sourced a bank of robust innovative global case studies and innovations as a first step in developing verifiable models to deliver better health outcomes and reduced costs across the world at a time of growing pressure on our health care systems.”

Gary Howe, Partner and UK Health Lead at EY, concludes: “Empowering consumers and harnessing big data will be crucial to delivering long-term savings for the sector.”

 

 

 

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