State or Market?

Summary: Medical and nursing care have been separated from social care by deliberate design since the creation of the NHS. This is true with regard to the institutional and policy frameworks and also with regard to how care is provided in practice. This divide, even if once justified, is now entirely artificial. People spend far ... Continue reading
There are three main factors behind the fears in relation to medical provisions post-Brexit. Here we examine what the potential problems are and the available solutions. The flexibility available to the UK government and regulators means that they should be able to overcome the regulatory barriers and minimise logistical delays in the supply of medicines. ... Continue reading

Hold the birthday cheers: poor NHS performance costing lives

Summary:  2018 marks the 70th birthday of the UK National Health Service – an institution which commands an unparalleled trust and reverence from the British people.1 Yet, to many casual onlookers, the Health Service appears to be in a perpetual state of “crisis”. To some extent, this is borne out by the available data on ... Continue reading

Why the health system needs old-age reserve funds

Summary: Healthcare spending as a proportion of GDP has almost doubled since 1990, from just over 5 per cent to almost 10 per cent now. With differences in timing and magnitude, virtually all developed countries have experienced a similar long-term trend Healthcare costs rise exponentially in old age. Healthcare costs per capita are relatively stable ... Continue reading

Obesity costs less than half as much as the government claims

Summary:  This is the first study to estimate the annual savings that overweight and obese people bring UK taxpayers by dying prematurely (in 2016 prices). Ignoring these savings leads to substantial overestimation of the true burden of elevated body mass index (BMI) to the taxpayer. Our estimate of the present value of pension, healthcare and ... Continue reading

Poor NHS performance is costing thousands of lives a year

Summary: Despite some relative improvements in the last fifteen years, the National Health Service remains an international laggard in terms of those health outcomes that can be attributed to the healthcare system. In international comparisons of health system performance, the NHS almost always ranks in the bottom third, on a par with the Czech Republic ... Continue reading

How healthy living is costing us more in the long term

Summary:  The British population is getting older. In 1948, life expectancy was 68. Thanks to healthier lifestyles and medical advances, it is now 81 and is expected to rise to 87 by the end of the next decade. The rapid growth of the elderly population will put a strain on healthcare, social care and welfare ... Continue reading

Political short-termism trumping best practice in the NHS

Summary: The NHS is part of the UK’s national story – a founding myth of post-war Britain. But like most founding myths, the popular NHS story is only very loosely based on actual events. The belief that the foundation of the NHS was a manifestation of ‘people power’ is completely untrue. Contemporary sources from the ... Continue reading

Going ‘the whole hog’ in healthcare reform would not require a revolution

Summary: In recent years, the healthcare debate has been dominated by allegations that the ‘privatisation of the NHS’ was in full swing. But this is not a new phenomenon at all. For as long as the health service has existed, there have been periodic outbreaks of ‘NHS privatisation fears’. Public attitudes to healthcare could be ... Continue reading

New IEA report compares the performance of the NHS to that of its European counterparts

Summary: While in many other policy areas, there is a political appetite for learning from international best practice, healthcare remains the exception: the healthcare debate remains inward-looking and insular. This is exemplified in newspaper headlines such as ‘Can a private business run a hospital?’, which an odd question given that there are thousands of examples ... Continue reading