Long-term illnesses that force people out of the workforce have become a “serious financial threat” to the UK and action is needed to reform health and social care, according to a new report.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) study for its Health and Welfare Commission says there is an opportunity for a “once-in-a-lifetime NHS reform” to avert “killer” costs and end second-rate care.
It said the number of people leaving the workforce due to illness was now at an all-time high of 2.6 million and warned: “There is no path to prosperity for this country without directly addressing the disease wave. “
Experts behind the study said health and social services play a leading role in making the country healthier and “more prosperous” but are not currently doing so.
On our current trajectory we will increasingly “spend more to get less”.
“The number of deaths that could have been avoided through timely medical or public health measures is much higher in the UK than in any other comparable European country,” the report said.
“We estimate that if the UK had had a similar preventable mortality rate as comparable European countries, around 240,000 fewer people would have died in the decade from 2010.”
The study places some of the blame on the inability to access medical care in a timely manner and increasing NHS waiting lists.
It continued: “Contrary to all logic, the adult social care market is encountering an increasing number of care requests (demand) with a shrinking number of care providers (supply).”
The quality of care has also fallen, the report continued, while cancer survival rates “remain stubbornly lower in the UK than in virtually all other rich democracies”.
Deaths from dementia are also “radically higher” than in comparable countries.
“Although service performance has declined, service spending has increased,” the report said.
“On our current trajectory we will increasingly spend more to get less.
The NHS and social care systems are vital to our individual and national health and prosperity
“As we move forward from the pandemic, new modeling commissioned for this report finds that government spending on health in England is on track to move from 9% of GDP to 11.2% of GDP by 2033/34 climb.
“This is much faster than the rate at which we expect the economy to grow, which suggests cuts to other public services or rationing of health and social services.”
In a 10-point plan, the report said it was necessary to prevent future diseases by creating neighborhood health centers to provide integrated services in each neighborhood.
It also proposed a social care guarantee “ensured by replacing unfair user fees with free personal care and improving the quality of providers”.
There should also be a new deal for health and care workers, “from better pay to stronger workers’ rights to retain and re-engage the workforce”.
The IPPR report said the reforms could save taxpayers up to £205 billion over the next decade. It said the annual savings would be equivalent to the current UK defense budget by 2033/34.
Former health minister Lord Ara Darzi, co-chair of the IPPR Commission on Health and Wealth, said: “The NHS and social care system are vital to our individual and national health and prosperity.”
“Too many people struggle to receive quality care when they need it most. As a result, there are growing calls for us to change our “free where needed” system.
“But now is not the time to abandon the principles that underpin the NHS.
“Instead, we must renew and expand them to deliver better health, a stronger economy and a fairer society. This report sets out a plan to achieve this.”
Sick Britain is costing us our lives, our livelihoods and damaging the British economy
Lord James Bethell, former health secretary and commissioner, said: “Sick Britain is costing us our lives, our livelihoods and damaging the British economy.”
“If we want to change course, we have to stop pretending that the answer is more hospitals and more acute care staff.
“Instead, we must take action to reduce the demand and need for healthcare through prevention.
“A Mission for a Healthy Britain that tackles the simultaneous epidemics of obesity, gambling, addiction and online harm is a prerequisite for any sustainable, effective national health service in the 21st century.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/longterm-work-sickness-absence-a-serious-fiscal-threat-to-uk-b1106612.html Long-term absence due to work sickness poses a “serious financial threat” to the UK