Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Chapter 31 - The Future of the NHS

This is a summary of chapter 31 - Taxation and Insurance. It was written by Professor Alan Maynard, Professor of Health Economics and Director of York Health Policy Group at York University. He has worked as a consultant for the WHO, the World Bank, the European Union and the UK’s Government Department for International Development. He is widely published in many books, specialist journals and the mainstream media. Since 1997 he has been Chairman of the York NHS Trust.

In this chapter he focuses on the debate about financing health care, remembering the objective of the NHS: to improve population health for the least cost. However, instead of focusing on the clinical and cost effectiveness of competing interventions and measuring clinical outcomes, the media and competing politicians propagate the illusion that more and/or different funding will “cure” the system’s often ill-defined problems.

The principle conclusions to be derived from his discussion of funding health care are that reasons for advocating change may be disguised by ideological and political agenda, but proponents of change have to be challenged. All health care systems, public and private, exhibit gross inefficiencies in terms of variations in practice and failure to deliver, but what the evidence base shows to cost effectiveness? The challenge for all who enter the debate about funding is to be transparent about their ideological concerns. Also, they must recognise that pouring more money into a health care system may not improve the level nor the distribution of population health.
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Treehouse Surfer said...

David Cameron may live to regret saying that he would never use the insurance model for the NHS.

Editorial said...

Great chapter.