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2.
Health Syst Transit ; 24(1): 1-194, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1842621

ABSTRACT

This analysis provides a review of developments in financing, governance, organisation and delivery, health reforms and performance of the health systems in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has enjoyed a national health service with access based on clinical need, and not ability to pay for over 70 years. This has provided several important benefits including protection against the financial consequences of ill-health, redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, and relatively low administrative costs. Despite this, the United Kingdom continues to lag behind many other comparable high-income countries in key measures including life expectancy, infant mortality and cancer survival. Total health spending in the United Kingdom is slightly above the average for Europe, but it is below many other comparable high-income countries such as Germany, France and Canada. The United Kingdom also has relatively lower levels of doctors, nurses, hospital beds and equipment than many other comparable high-income countries. Wider social determinants of health also contribute to poor outcomes, and the United Kingdom has one of the highest levels of income inequality in Europe. Devolution of responsibility for health care services since the late 1990s to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has resulted in divergence in policies between countries, including in prescription charges, and eligibility for publicly funded social care services. However, more commonalities than differences remain between these health care systems. The United Kingdom initially experienced one of the highest death rates associated with COVID-19; however, the success and speed of the United Kingdom's vaccination programme has since improved the United Kingdom's performance in this respect. Principal health reforms in each country are focusing on facilitating cross-sectoral partnerships and promoting integration of services in a manner that improves the health and well-being of local populations. These include the establishment of integrated care systems in England, integrated joint boards in Scotland, regional partnership boards in Wales and integrated partnership boards in Northern Ireland. Policies are also being developed to align the social care funding model closer to the National Health Service funding model. These include a cap on costs over an individual's lifetime in England, and a national care service free at the point of need in Scotland and Wales. Currently, and for the future, significant investment is needed to address major challenges including a growing backlog of elective care, and staffing shortfalls exacerbated by Brexit.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , State Medicine , European Union , Humans , Quality of Health Care , United Kingdom
3.
BMJ Qual Saf ; 2022 Apr 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784848

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The NHS England evidence-based interventions programme (EBI), launched in April 2019, is a novel nationally led initiative to encourage disinvestment in low value care. METHOD: We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of this policy by using a difference-in-difference approach to compare changes in volume between January 2016 and February 2020 in a treatment group of low value procedures against a control group unaffected by the EBI programme during our period of analysis but subsequently identified as candidates for disinvestment. RESULTS: We found only small differences between the treatment and control group after implementation, with reductions in volumes in the treatment group 0.10% (95% CI 0.09% to 0.11%) smaller than in the control group (equivalent to 16 low value procedures per month). During the month of implementation, reductions in volumes in the treatment group were 0.05% (95% CI 0.03% to 0.06%) smaller than in the control group (equivalent to 7 low value procedures). Using triple difference estimators, we found that reductions in volumes were 0.35% (95% CI 0.26% to 0.44%) larger in NHS hospitals than independent sector providers (equivalent to 47 low value procedures per month). We found no significant differences between clinical commissioning groups that did or did not volunteer to be part of a demonstrator community to trial EBI guidance, but found reductions in volume were 0.06% (95% CI 0.04% to 0.08%) larger in clinical commissioning groups that posted a deficit in the financial year 2018/19 before implementation (equivalent to 4 low value procedures per month). CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis shows that the EBI programme did not accelerate disinvestment for procedures under its remit during our period of analysis. However, we find that financial and organisational factors may have had some influence on the degree of responsiveness to the EBI programme.

4.
Value Health ; 24(11): 1570-1577, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1340749

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To assist with planning hospital resources, including critical care (CC) beds, for managing patients with COVID-19. METHODS: An individual simulation was implemented in Microsoft Excel using a discretely integrated condition event simulation. Expected daily cases presented to the emergency department were modeled in terms of transitions to and from ward and CC and to discharge or death. The duration of stay in each location was selected from trajectory-specific distributions. Daily ward and CC bed occupancy and the number of discharges according to care needs were forecast for the period of interest. Face validity was ascertained by local experts and, for the case study, by comparing forecasts with actual data. RESULTS: To illustrate the use of the model, a case study was developed for Guy's and St Thomas' Trust. They provided inputs for January 2020 to early April 2020, and local observed case numbers were fit to provide estimates of emergency department arrivals. A peak demand of 467 ward and 135 CC beds was forecast, with diminishing numbers through July. The model tended to predict higher occupancy in Level 1 than what was eventually observed, but the timing of peaks was quite close, especially for CC, where the model predicted at least 120 beds would be occupied from April 9, 2020, to April 17, 2020, compared with April 7, 2020, to April 19, 2020, in reality. The care needs on discharge varied greatly from day to day. CONCLUSIONS: The DICE simulation of hospital trajectories of patients with COVID-19 provides forecasts of resources needed with only a few local inputs. This should help planners understand their expected resource needs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/economics , Computer Simulation/standards , Resource Allocation/methods , Surge Capacity/economics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Resource Allocation/standards , Surge Capacity/trends
6.
Lancet ; 397(10288): 1979-1991, 2021 05 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1219658

ABSTRACT

The demographics of the UK population are changing and so is the need for health care. In this Health Policy, we explore the current health of the population, the changing health needs, and future threats to health. Relative to other high-income countries, the UK is lagging on many health outcomes, such as life expectancy and infant mortality, and there is a growing burden of mental illness. Successes exist, such as the striking improvements in oral health, but inequalities in health persist as well. The growth of the ageing population relative to the working-age population, the rise of multimorbidity, and persistent health inequalities, particularly for preventable illness, are all issues that the National Health Service (NHS) will face in the years to come. Meeting the challenges of the future will require an increased focus on health promotion and disease prevention, involving a more concerted effort to understand and tackle the multiple social, environmental, and economic factors that lie at the heart of health inequalities. The immediate priority of the NHS will be to mitigate the wider and long-term health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it must also strengthen its resilience to reduce the impact of other threats to health, such as the UK leaving the EU, climate change, and antimicrobial resistance.


Subject(s)
Delivery of Health Care/trends , Demography/trends , State Medicine/organization & administration , Aging , COVID-19 , Cost of Illness , Healthcare Disparities/trends , Humans , Life Expectancy , Maternal-Child Health Services , Mental Health , Multimorbidity/trends , Oral Health/trends , State Medicine/trends , United Kingdom/epidemiology
7.
Lancet ; 397(10288): 2012-2022, 2021 05 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1219074

ABSTRACT

The health and care sector plays a valuable role in improving population health and societal wellbeing, protecting people from the financial consequences of illness, reducing health and income inequalities, and supporting economic growth. However, there is much debate regarding the appropriate level of funding for health and care in the UK. In this Health Policy paper, we look at the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and historical spending in the UK and comparable countries, assess the role of private spending, and review spending projections to estimate future needs. Public spending on health has increased by 3·7% a year on average since the National Health Service (NHS) was founded in 1948 and, since then, has continued to assume a larger share of both the economy and government expenditure. In the decade before the ongoing pandemic started, the rate of growth of government spending for the health and care sector slowed. We argue that without average growth in public spending on health of at least 4% per year in real terms, there is a real risk of degradation of the NHS, reductions in coverage of benefits, increased inequalities, and increased reliance on private financing. A similar, if not higher, level of growth in public spending on social care is needed to provide high standards of care and decent terms and conditions for social care staff, alongside an immediate uplift in public spending to implement long-overdue reforms recommended by the Dilnot Commission to improve financial protection. COVID-19 has highlighted major issues in the capacity and resilience of the health and care system. We recommend an independent review to examine the precise amount of additional funds that are required to better equip the UK to withstand further acute shocks and major threats to health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/economics , Health Expenditures/statistics & numerical data , Health Policy/economics , State Medicine/economics , Financing, Government , Humans , Social Support , United Kingdom
8.
Lancet ; 397(10288): 1992-2011, 2021 05 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1218908

ABSTRACT

Approximately 13% of the total UK workforce is employed in the health and care sector. Despite substantial workforce planning efforts, the effectiveness of this planning has been criticised. Education, training, and workforce plans have typically considered each health-care profession in isolation and have not adequately responded to changing health and care needs. The results are persistent vacancies, poor morale, and low retention. Areas of particular concern highlighted in this Health Policy paper include primary care, mental health, nursing, clinical and non-clinical support, and social care. Responses to workforce shortfalls have included a high reliance on foreign and temporary staff, small-scale changes in skill mix, and enhanced recruitment drives. Impending challenges for the UK health and care workforce include growing multimorbidity, an increasing shortfall in the supply of unpaid carers, and the relative decline of the attractiveness of the National Health Service (NHS) as an employer internationally. We argue that to secure a sustainable and fit-for-purpose health and care workforce, integrated workforce approaches need to be developed alongside reforms to education and training that reflect changes in roles and skill mix, as well as the trend towards multidisciplinary working. Enhancing career development opportunities, promoting staff wellbeing, and tackling discrimination in the NHS are all needed to improve recruitment, retention, and morale of staff. An urgent priority is to offer sufficient aftercare and support to staff who have been exposed to high-risk situations and traumatic experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to growing calls to recognise and reward health and care staff, growth in pay must at least keep pace with projected rises in average earnings, which in turn will require linking future NHS funding allocations to rises in pay. Through illustrative projections, we show that, to sustain annual growth in the workforce at approximately 2·4%, increases in NHS expenditure of 4% annually in real terms will be required. Above all, a radical long-term strategic vision is needed to ensure that the future NHS workforce is fit for purpose.


Subject(s)
Health Policy , Health Workforce/statistics & numerical data , State Medicine/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/psychology , Health Occupations/economics , Health Occupations/education , Health Workforce/economics , Humans , Occupational Stress , Personnel Selection , State Medicine/economics , United Kingdom
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