Edited by Stephen P. Osborne and Louise Brown
Chapter 35: Strengthening the spread of innovation in the UK’s National Health Service
In the next 10 years the UK will need to spend between £1.2 trillion and £1.5 trillion on health and social care just to maintain the current status quo. At current growth rates, real terms health spending in the UK will more than double to £230 billion a year by 2030 (Lansley 2011). Without innovations that help to radically reconfigure the care system, it will be hard to achieve this, let alone achieve world class standards and meet the challenges of an ageing population. This will require careful thought on the new combinations of technology, services, organisations and built infrastructure that can be designed and put in place. So what do we know about innovation in healthcare? First, it is part of the solution to the 21st century healthcare challenges but it is also part of the problem. Unlike in other industries, where innovation tends to drive down the cost of production or final costs to the consumer, innovation in healthcare is often perceived to be expensive because it increases demand – it allows you to treat more people or identify more problems that can be treated (Cutler 1995; Cutler and McClellan 2001; Bodenheimer 2005; Skinner et al. 2006; Cutler et al. 2007; Baker 2010). It has been estimated that in the US the combined effect of demographic change, income growth, insurance costs, relative productivity growth and administrative expenses explains only half the total increase in healthcare expenditure between 1940 and 1999.
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