'Securing our future health' review

17 April 2002

Sir Derek Wanless was appointed by HM Treasury to lead the Securing our future health review to examine the long-term trends affecting the health service. The review attempted to quantify the resources needed to keep the health service comprehensive and available to all.

The review observed that the rise in the ageing population would have as great a pressure on social services as it would on health services. It predicted that a 'very substantial increase' in resources for both health and social care services would be required to withstand the pressure.

However, improvements in productivity and the delivery of high-quality public health and preventative services could result in savings that might partially reduce the expected funding gap.

The review noted that lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, increased physical activity and improved diet could reap both health and economic benefits because the long term costs of health care treatment could be reduced as a result of preventative action. It also found that there was excessive focus on acute care services over health improvement and maintenance interventions.

The review also observed the lack of investment in social care, compared to the levels of investment in health. It noted that under-capacity in social care had caused 'bed blocking', which resulted in greater pressure on acute hospital services. People were being forced to remain in expensive acute care hospital beds longer than needed as a result of delays in preparing appropriate social care packages for patients ready for discharge from hospitals.

Source(s)

Wanless D.
Securing our future health: taking a long-term view.
HM Treasury; 2002.