Performance of UK National Health Service compared with other high income countries: observational study.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:To determine how the UK National Health Service (NHS) is performing relative to health systems of other high income countries, given that it is facing sustained financial pressure, increasing levels of demand, and cuts to social care. DESIGN:Observational study using secondary data from key international organisations such as Eurostat and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. SETTING:Healthcare systems of the UK and nine high income comparator countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:79 indicators across seven domains: population and healthcare coverage, healthcare and social spending, structural capacity, utilisation, access to care, quality of care, and population health. RESULTS:The UK spent the least per capita on healthcare in 2017 compared with all other countries studied (UK $3825 (£2972; €3392); mean $5700), and spending was growing at slightly lower levels (0.02% of gross domestic product in the previous four years, compared with a mean of 0.07%). The UK had the lowest rates of unmet need and among the lowest numbers of doctors and nurses per capita, despite having average levels of utilisation (number of hospital admissions). The UK had slightly below average life expectancy (81.3 years compared with a mean of 81.7) and cancer survival, including breast, cervical, colon, and rectal cancer. Although several health service outcomes were poor, such as postoperative sepsis after abdominal surgery (UK 2454 per 100?000 discharges; mean 2058 per 100?000 discharges), 30 day mortality for acute myocardial infarction (UK 7.1%; mean 5.5%), and ischaemic stroke (UK 9.6%; mean 6.6%), the UK achieved lower than average rates of postoperative deep venous thrombosis after joint surgery and fewer healthcare associated infections. CONCLUSIONS:The NHS showed pockets of good performance, including in health service outcomes, but spending, patient safety, and population health were all below average to average at best. Taken together, these results suggest that if the NHS wants to achieve comparable health outcomes at a time of growing demographic pressure, it may need to spend more to increase the supply of labour and long term care and reduce the declining trend in social spending to match levels of comparator countries.
Project description:UK care home residents are often poorly served by existing healthcare arrangements. Published descriptions of residents' health status have been limited by lack of detail and use of data derived from surveys drawn from social, rather than health, care records.to describe in detail the health status and healthcare resource use of UK care home residentsa 180-day longitudinal cohort study of 227 residents across 11 UK care homes, 5 nursing and 6 residential, selected to be representative for nursing/residential status and dementia registration.Barthel index (BI), Mini-mental state examination (MMSE), Neuropsychiatric index (NPI), Mini-nutritional index (MNA), EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D), 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), diagnoses and medications were recorded at baseline and BI, NPI, GHQ-12 and EQ-5D at follow-up after 180 days. National Health Service (NHS) resource use data were collected from databases of local healthcare providers.out of a total of 323, 227 residents were recruited. The median BI was 9 (IQR: 2.5-15.5), MMSE 13 (4-22) and number of medications 8 (5.5-10.5). The mean number of diagnoses per resident was 6.2 (SD: 4). Thirty per cent were malnourished, 66% had evidence of behavioural disturbance. Residents had contact with the NHS on average once per month.residents from both residential and nursing settings are dependent, cognitively impaired, have mild frequent behavioural symptoms, multimorbidity, polypharmacy and frequently use NHS resources. Effective care for such a cohort requires broad expertise from multiple disciplines delivered in a co-ordinated and managed way.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The UK's National Health Service (NHS) is currently subject to unprecedented financial strain. The identification of unnecessary healthcare resource use has been suggested to reduce spending. However, there is little very research quantifying wasteful test use, despite the £3 billion annual expenditure. Geographical variation has been suggested as one metric in which to quantify inappropriate use. We set out to identify tests ordered from UK primary care that are subject to the greatest between-practice variation in their use. METHODS:We used data from 444 general practices within the Clinical Practice Research Datalink to calculate a coefficient of variation (CoV) for the ordering of 44 specific tests from UK general practices. The coefficient of variation was calculated after adjusting for differences between practice populations. We also determined the tests that had both a higher-than-average CoV and a higher-than-average rate of use. RESULTS:In total, 16,496,218 tests were ordered for 4,078,091 patients over 3,311,050 person-years from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016. The tests subject to the greatest variation were drug monitoring 158% (95%CI 153 to 163%), urine microalbumin (52% (95%CI 49.9 to 53.2%)), pelvic CT (51% (95%CI 50 to 53%)) and Pap smear (49% (95%CI 48 to 51%). Seven tests were classified as high variability and high rate (clotting, vitamin D, urine albumin, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), bone profile, urine MCS and C-reactive protein (CRP)). CONCLUSIONS:There are wide variations in the use of common tests, which is unlikely to be explained by clinical indications. Since £3 billion annually are spent on tests, this represents considerable variation in the use of resources and inefficient management in the NHS. Our results can be of value to policy makers, researchers, patients and clinicians as the NHS strives towards identifying overuse and underuse of tests.
Project description:Asthma is now one of the most common long-term conditions in the UK. It is therefore important to develop a comprehensive appreciation of the healthcare and societal costs in order to inform decisions on care provision and planning. We plan to build on our earlier estimates of national prevalence and costs from asthma by filling the data gaps previously identified in relation to healthcare and broadening the field of enquiry to include societal costs. This work will provide the first UK-wide estimates of the costs of asthma. In the context of asthma for the UK and its member countries (ie, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), we seek to: (1) produce a detailed overview of estimates of incidence, prevalence and healthcare utilisation; (2) estimate health and societal costs; (3) identify any remaining information gaps and explore the feasibility of filling these and (4) provide insights into future research that has the potential to inform changes in policy leading to the provision of more cost-effective care.Secondary analyses of data from national health surveys, primary care, prescribing, emergency care, hospital, mortality and administrative data sources will be undertaken to estimate prevalence, healthcare utilisation and outcomes from asthma. Data linkages and economic modelling will be undertaken in an attempt to populate data gaps and estimate costs. Separate prevalence and cost estimates will be calculated for each of the UK-member countries and these will then be aggregated to generate UK-wide estimates.Approvals have been obtained from the NHS Scotland Information Services Division's Privacy Advisory Committee, the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage Collaboration Review System, the NHS South-East Scotland Research Ethics Service and The University of Edinburgh's Centre for Population Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee. We will produce a report for Asthma-UK, submit papers to peer-reviewed journals and construct an interactive map.
Project description:Emergency Department demand continues to rise in almost all high-income countries, including those with universal coverage and a strong primary care network. Many of these countries have been experimenting with innovative methods to stem demand for acute care, while at the same time providing much needed services that can prevent Emergency Department attendance and later hospital admissions. A large proportion of patients comprise of those with minor illnesses that could potentially be seen by a health care provider in a primary care setting. The increasing number of visits to Emergency Departments not only causes delay in urgent care provision but also increases the overall cost. In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) has made a number of efforts to strengthen primary healthcare services to increase accessibility to healthcare as well as address patients' needs by introducing new urgent care services.
Project description:This article reflects on the changing nature of health information access and the transition of focus from electronic health records (EHRs) to personal health records (PHRs) along with the challenges and need for alignment of national initiatives for EHR and PHR in the National Health Service (NHS) of the UK. The importance of implementing integrated EHRs as a route to enhance the quality of health delivery has been increasingly understood. EHRs, however, carry several limitations that include major fragmentation through multiple providers and protocols throughout the NHS. Questions over ownership and control of data further complicate the potential for fully utilising records. Analysing the previous initiatives and the current landscape, we identify that adopting a patient health record system can empower patients and allow better harmonisation of clinical data at a national level. We propose regional PHR 'hubs' to provide a universal interface that integrates digital health data at a regional level with further integration at a national level. We propose that these PHR hubs will reduce the complexity of connections, decrease governance challenges and interoperability issues while also providing a safe platform for high-quality scalable and sustainable digital solutions, including artificial intelligence across the UK NHS, serving as an exemplar for other countries which wish to realise the full value of healthcare records.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To evaluate health outcomes, resource use and corresponding costs attributable to managing burns in clinical practice, from initial presentation, among a cohort of adults in the UK. DESIGN:Retrospective cohort analysis of the records of a randomly selected cohort of 260 patients from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database who had 294 evaluable burns. SETTING:Primary and secondary care sectors in the UK. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:Patients' characteristics, wound-related health outcomes, healthcare resource use and total National Health Service (NHS) cost of patient management. RESULTS:Diagnosis was incomplete in 63% of patients' records as the location, depth and size of the burns were missing. Overall, 70% of all the burns healed within 24 months and the time to healing was a mean of 7.8 months per burn. Sixty-six per cent of burns were initially managed in the community and the other 34% were managed at accident and emergency departments. Patients' wounds were subsequently managed predominantly by practice nurses and hospital outpatient clinics. Forty-five per cent of burns had no documented dressings in the patients' records. The mean NHS cost of wound care in clinical practice over 24 months from initial presentation was an estimated £16?924 per burn, ranging from £12?002 to £40?577 for a healed and unhealed wound, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:Due to incomplete documentation in the patients' records, it is difficult to say whether the time to healing was excessive or what other confounding factors may have contributed to the delayed healing. This study indicates the need for education of general practice clinicians on the management and care of burn wounds. Furthermore, it is beholden on the burns community to determine how the poor healing rates can be improved. Strategies are required to improve documentation in patients' records, integration of care between different providers, wound healing rates and reducing infection.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:The UK government is proposing to cease cutting the local authority public health grant by reallocating part of the treatment budget to preventative activity. This study examines whether this proposal is evidenced based and, in particular, whether these resources are best reallocated to prevention, or whether this expenditure would generate more health gains if used for treatment. METHODS:Instrumental variable regression methods are applied to English local authority data on mortality, healthcare and public health expenditure to estimate the responsiveness of mortality to variations in healthcare and public health expenditure in 2013/14. Using a well-established method, these mortality results are converted to a quality-adjusted life year (QALY) basis, and this facilitates the estimation of the cost per QALY for both National Health Service (NHS) healthcare and local public health expenditure. RESULTS:Saving lives and improving the quality of life requires resources. Our estimates suggest that each additional QALY costs about £3800 from the local public health budget, and that each additional QALY from the NHS budget costs about £13?500. These estimates can be used to calculate the number of QALYs generated by a budget boost. If we err on the side of caution and use the most conservative estimates that we have, then an additional £1 billion spent on public health will generate 206?398 QALYs (95%?CI 36?591 to 3?76?205 QALYs), and an additional £1 billion spent on healthcare will generate 67?060 QALYs (95%?CI 21?487 to 112?633 QALYs). CONCLUSIONS:Additional public health expenditure is very productive of health and is more productive than additional NHS expenditure. However, both types of expenditure are more productive of health than the norms used by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (£20?000-£30?000 per QALY) to judge whether new therapeutic technologies are suitable for adoption by the NHS.
Project description:Congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI) is a rare, genetic disease which causes persistent hypoglycaemia, typically in new-borns. Patients with the diffuse disease variant often require near-total surgical removal of the pancreas, causing insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). The CHI economic burden is currently unknown. This study aimed to estimate the annual cost of illness (COI) of CHI patients in the UK from a service provider perspective (National Health Service, NHS and Personal Social Services), and to explore cost distribution within the patient population.The model was based on standard practice of two CHI centres of excellence. Model inputs were informed by a pragmatic literature review, NHS Reference Costs (2015-2016) and the British National Formulary (2017). Only direct costs to the NHS and Personal Social Services were considered. A prevalence-based approach was used and annual costs incurred at all ages were calculated. A deterministic sensitivity analysis (DSA; run at 10%) identified major cost drivers.The COI of CHI patients to the NHS was £3,408,398.59 annually and average cost per patient was £2124.95. Cost distribution was skewed among CHI patients, with 5.9% of patients (95 patients in their first year of life) contributing to 61.8% (£2,105,491.07) of total costs. DSA results identified lack of response to first-line therapy and IDDM development post surgery (and associated healthcare costs) as major cost drivers.Despite its rare disease status, estimated annual costs of CHI to the NHS were substantial. Development and management of post-surgical IDDM as a major cost driver highlights the need for effective treatments to mitigate such consequences and costs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic neurobehavioral disorder in children that may persist into adulthood. Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (LDX) is approved in many countries for ADHD treatment in children, adolescents, and adults. OBJECTIVES:Estimate the cost-effectiveness of LDX as a first- or second-line treatment for adults with ADHD from the United Kingdom (UK) National Health Service (NHS) perspective compared with methylphenidate extended release (MPH-ER) and atomoxetine (ATX). METHODS:A 1-year decision-analytic model was developed. Health outcomes included response, non-response and inability to tolerate. Efficacy data were obtained from a mixed-treatment comparison (MTC). Response was a score of 1 or 2 on the Clinical Global Impression-Improvement scale. Tolerability was assessed by discontinuation rates due to adverse events. Utilities were identified via a systematic literature review. Health care resource use estimates were obtained via a survey of clinicians. Daily drug costs were estimated from mean doses reported in the trials used in the MTC. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses (PSAs) were performed. RESULTS:LDX dominated MPH-ER and ATX; reducing mean per-patient annual cost by £5 and £200, and increasing mean quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) by 0.005 and 0.009, respectively. In the PSA, the probability of cost-effectiveness for LDX vs. MPH-ER and ATX at a threshold of £20,000 per QALY was 61% and 80%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:From the perspective of the UK NHS, LDX is likely to provide a cost-effective treatment for adults with ADHD. This conclusion may be drawn with more certainty in comparison with ATX than with MPH-ER.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To assess the relation between autocratisation-substantial decreases in democratic traits (free and fair elections, freedom of civil and political association, and freedom of expression)-and countries' population health outcomes and progress toward universal health coverage (UHC). DESIGN:Synthetic control analysis. SETTING AND COUNTRY SELECTION:Global sample of countries for all years from 1989 to 2019, split into two categories: 17 treatment countries that started autocratising during 2000 to 2010, and 119 control countries that never autocratised from 1989 to 2019. The treatment countries comprised low and middle income nations and represent all world regions except North America and western Europe. A weighted combination of control countries was used to construct synthetic controls for each treatment country. This statistical method is especially well suited to population level studies when random assignment is infeasible and sufficiently similar comparators are not available. The method was originally developed in economics and political science to assess the impact of policies and events, and it is now increasingly used in epidemiology. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:HIV-free life expectancy at age 5 years, UHC effective coverage index (0-100 point scale), and out-of-pocket spending on health per capita. All outcome variables are for the period 1989 to 2019. RESULTS:Autocratising countries underperformed for all three outcome variables in the 10 years after the onset of autocratisation, despite some improvements in life expectancy, UHC effective coverage index, and out-of-pocket spending on health. On average, HIV-free life expectancy at age 5 years increased by 2.2% (from 64.7 to 66.1 years) during the 10 years after the onset of autocratisation. This study estimated that it would have increased by 3.5% (95% confidence interval 3.3% to 3.6%, P<0.001) (from 64.7 to 66.9 years) in the absence of autocratisation. On average, the UHC effective coverage index increased by 11.9% (from 42.5 to 47.6 points) during the 10 years after the onset of autocratisation. This study estimated that it would have increased by 20.2% (95% confidence interval 19.6% to 21.2%, P<0.001) (from 42.5 to 51.1 points) in the absence of autocratisation. Finally, on average, out-of-pocket spending on health per capita increased by 10.0% (from $4.00 (£3.1; €3.4) to $4.4, log transformed) during the 10 years after the onset of autocratisation. This study estimated that it would have increased by only 4.4% (95% confidence interval 3.9% to 4.6%, P<0.001) (from $4.0 to $4.2, log transformed) in the absence of autocratisation. CONCLUSIONS:Autocratising countries had worse than estimated life expectancy, effective health service coverage, and levels of out-of-pocket spending on health. These results suggest that the noticeable increase in the number of countries that are experiencing democratic erosion in recent years is hindering population health gains and progress toward UHC. Global health institutions will need to adjust their policy recommendations and activities to obtain the best possible results in those countries with a diminishing democratic incentive to provide quality healthcare to populations.