Can the NHS be saved by a ‘Prudent’ approach?

There’s a big, and growing, hole in the NHS budget. Is ‘Prudent healthcare’ the answer?

The Welsh NHS will have a 40% hole in its budget within 10 years.

The latest audit of the health service by the health think-tank The Nuffield Trust calculates that there’ll be an “unprecedented funding gap” of £2.5billion by 2025 because of rising pressures. The ageing population, rising hospital admissions for people with chronic disease and increases in the cost of providing health care mean that pressures on the Welsh NHS are growing.

“The NHS in Wales, which has become accustomed to increases in real-terms funding to meet demand pressures, must now meet the rising pressures of the population with a reduced budget” the report authors conclude.

Mark Drakeford, the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, has said since he took up post that the NHS faces a choice between unplanned change and planned change. He has set out the concept of prudent healthcare as the only way to meeting these profound challenges. He has defined it as “healthcare that fits the needs and circumstances of patients and actively avoids wasteful care that is not to the patients benefit”.

The IWA will be acting as a forum to debate this important concept over the coming months and last week held a major conference on the subject.  IWA members have received a summary of the event and can watch a Q&A with Mark Drakeford here, or listen below

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