The NHS should be supported to continue to invest in innovation in order to save more money in the long-term.

This is one of the messages of a major new report ‘Creating a sustainable 21st century healthcare system’ by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK).

‘Creating a sustainable 21st century healthcare system’, supported by EY, is the first report in ILC-UK’s SOS 2020 Health series. It highlights how a ‘perfect storm’ of demographic and wider economic and social trends are converging to push up the cost of healthcare across the globe. The report showcases examples of innovation from across the world which could save lives and money if introduced more widely.

  • The UK is home to some of the world’s leading innovation in healthcare but we can learn from successes in USA, India, Australia, Africa and Europe
  • ILC-UK urge health leaders to work to ensure that the £22bn savings being asked of the NHS act to stimulate not prevent innovation

The UK’s healthcare system provides a third of the exemplary case studies showcased in the report, but the report suggests that more work needs to be done to share and spread innovation in the UK, and that there’s much to learn from other leading markets such as India, Australia, Europe and the US.

The report points out that the 15 million people who have a long term health condition account for 70% of the total health and care spend in England. Yet across Europe, on average only 3% of healthcare expenditure is allocated to prevention and public health programmes.

The NHS is committed to achieving £22bn efficiency savings through productivity gains of 2% or 3% a year between now and 2020. The ILC-UK research has shown this target will be very challenging without real innovation. The OBR highlight productivity in the health sector only rose by around 1% per annum on average between 1979 and 2010.

The report suggests that a concerted focus on innovation and prevention - developing more empowered health consumers, whilst also maximising the potential of big data - would help to deliver significant savings in the long-term.

Phase two of the report, due out in 2016, will model the impact of applying the leading global innovations showcased in the first report to new markets to highlight the potential global savings of sharing innovation.

Authors: Jonathan Scrutton, George Holley-Moore and Sally-Marie Bamford

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