Health for Wealth report
The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) is a health partnership that operates across the North of England, which unites 8 cities and 15 million patients for health and wealth benefits. The alliance constitutes 8 research institutes, eight NHS teaching Trusts and four Academic Health Science Networks.
The NHSA have recently released a report titled ‘Health for Wealth Building a Healthier Northern Powerhouse for UK Productivity’, which looks at the impact of poor health (life expectancy in the North is 2 years lower than in the rest of England) on productivity.
A series of Q&As have been issued to provide on overview of the report’s main findings:
What is the takeaway from this report?
That as we consider place-based economic development informed by the industrial strategy and in light of Brexit, we recognise the importance at a local, regional and national level that health can have on productivity. This report for the first time demonstrates the impact that could be had on productivity if policy makers better understood and appreciated the need to include health in economic development.
Aren’t you just asking for more money for the NHS in the North?
No, this report shows the importance of health improvements, social, physical and mental in the context of growing local, regional and national economies.
Our recommendations cover the entire network which has an impact on public health. Central and local governments, organisations such as Local Enterprise Councils and the NHS.
The North already received more NHS funding than the South – why does it need more?
What we have demonstrated is NHS expenditure has the potential to be more effective in the North. It is more effective at increasing the employment rate, reducing the rate of economic activity, increasing wages, and increasing the Gross Value Added in the Northern Powerhouse compared to the rest of England.
Are you trying to take funding away from the rest of the country?
No, this report demonstrates the positive impact on productivity tackling the North’s ill health would have across the country. Ultimately were recommendations from this report put in place they would be of benefit to the entire UK.
Are you saying that this report shows provision of care is of lower quality of the North ?
No, it shows the importance of health improvements – social, physical and mental in the context of growing local regional and national economies.
The scale of ill health in the North is enormous. That is why investment in health care in the North would have such a big impact on the UK’s economy.
Ok – so how much money do we need to put into solving this problem of ill health in the North?
This report can’t answer that. What it does is offer a new way of looking at the productivity issue in the North of England and how health is related to that – something which hasn’t been done before.
The productivity gap of £4 per-person per-hour between the North and South of England is a situation that needs addressing and we’re offering a new way of doing that. By tackling the North’s comparatively poorer health we could reduce that by a third.
How would more money into health research help the North of England?
The vast majority of public money which goes into health research goes to the South of England, over 60%. Health research is linked to better health outcomes for patients. To help address the ill health burden, and consequent productivity issues, we need to put health research in the places where it is needed most.
This report seems to raise more questions than it answers
Yes and that’s intentional. We wanted to see if there was a link between poor health and poor productivity and now that connection has been made.
We would now like to see more work done in how to address this across our public health structure in the North and the whole of the UK.