Health Service Focus

13.08.19

Prevention: investing for the future

Source: NHE: Jul/Aug 19

Against a backdrop of condensed budgets and rising demand for health and social care, Rob Whiteman, chief executive of CIPFA, explains why preventative approaches are worth the cost.

Rising demand and reducing resource – this has been the rolling landscape of the public sector for the past few years. In this context, it can be difficult to justify allocating limited resources to spend on preventative approaches. However, investing in public health is all about helping people stay healthy, happy and independent for as long as possible. Good health is an asset - it supports positive social and economic outcomes and reduces demand for related health and social care services. 

A clue to the value of prevention is found in the fact that it is often referred to as investment – using resources now to reap benefits in the future and enabling us to avoid future costs by reducing demand. 

It seems clear that public spending should take account, not only of the immediate outcomes it delivers, but also of its potential impact on financial sustainability. Any cost-benefit analysis of the impact of such investment must, perhaps more importantly, assess the potential impact of not making an investment as well. This is particularly important in preventative investment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case – spending decisions are often taken with an over-emphasis on the short term, instead of considering the broader picture.

The devolution and health and social care integration agendas both present opportunities for local bodies to work together on the shared goal of improving the health of their communities. This requires a spirit of collaboration, particularly where there is a need to align and agree resourcing priorities. Any interventions must be sustainable within the financial strategies of all organisations so they can continue to be supported over the long term. 

Therefore, it is important that preventative investments are properly evaluated and measured. This not only helps to ensure best value, but also builds an evidence base to increase the transparency of such investments. 

We at CIPFA have partnered with Public Health England to develop a framework to guide such evaluations and analysis. Our approach takes a holistic view, encouraging an emphasis on sustainability and long-term thinking, and allows for a place-based consideration of investments. Such a standardised approach would allow organisations across the public sector to compare strategies and share what works. This would also improve transparency and allow for clear communication with citizens to increase engagement with preventative initiatives, and improve understanding of how and where the public pound is spent.

Overall our ambition is to change the way prevention is thought about – as a true investment, yielding benefits across place and time, rather than just a way to generate savings. 

In realising this ambition, the finance profession will be key. As the people who hold the financial reins of the business, they are responsible for ensuring that scarce public resources are used wisely to secure desired outcomes. We have challenged the profession to not only adopt and empower the changes proposed, but to find a way forward that leads to a step change in the way we think about prevention. 

Although it will take time to change attitudes to preventative investment, our framework aims to take a step in the right direction and start a cross-sector conversation. Making the case for preventative investment now will ensure a lasting impact on public health – and other outcomes – over the years to come.

For more information

W: www.cipfa.org/evaluatingpreventativeinvestments

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

First NHS trusts introduce NHS SBS’ The Edge4Health

16/01/2020First NHS trusts introduce NHS SBS’ The Edge4Health

A major new procurement platform developed by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), The Edge4Health, is being adopted by NHS trust staff across... more >
NHS mental health director demands urgent gambling action

16/01/2020NHS mental health director demands urgent gambling action

The director of NHS mental health, Claire Murdoch, has penned a written plea to the heads of top gambling firms, urging them to take action on im... more >
Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

16/01/2020Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ discus... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

16/01/2020Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ discusses the need to move the treatment of patients from primary to secondary care and how the NHS People Plan can help achieve this. Throughout my (overlong) career in the NHS, the national policy on modernising the way NHS services are delivered has been pretty consistent. All recent governments; ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

interviews

Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

07/12/2019Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

Mike Farrar Chairperson of Swim England Would you talk us through your previous roles within the NHS? I’ve held a number of ... more >
Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >