How much do we use the NHS? Introducing annual health statements

Document type
Norman, Jesse; Takolia, Museji Ahmed
Centre for Policy Studies
Date of publication
1 October 2014
Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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The cost of healthcare in the UK has long been rising significantly faster than inflation, creating a serious budget issue for governments past, present and future. Attempts to improve efficiency within the NHS have increasingly focused on limiting unnecessary demand for healthcare. This paper examines the idea of Annual Healthcare Statements, a new means to limit unnecessary demands on the NHS. As with an annual bank, ISA or pension statement, each individual user of the NHS would receive a Healthcare Statement every year. The user would be able to see which services they had received over the past 12 months, and examine and understand the costs (and by implication appreciate the value) of those services to the NHS. Where the same or similar service could be provided less expensively – say by visiting their GP rather than A&E – they would also be able to see the savings to be made. Over time, it might also be possible to add specific incentives to encourage users to make more appropriate use of the NHS, at little or no cost to themselves.