Myths about public health spending

Summary The coronavirus outbreak in Britain has raised questions about the use of public health resources and about the costs and benefits of the ‘lockdown’. It has been argued that the government’s response to the epidemic was weakened by cuts to the public health budget. It is widely believed that spending on public health saves ... Continue reading

The history and economics of pandemics

Summary Pandemics (a term with a precise and technical definition) are a recurring feature of human history. In the modern world, since the 1770s, we have had a series of pandemics, with a series of cholera ones in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and a series of five influenza ones since 1890. Further back ... Continue reading

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