Published in the latest issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, a new study reveals that after 1999, increased funding by the NHS marked improved health outcomes when measured using the concept of "amenable mortality," an indicator intended for routine use by the current government.
Co-author, Professor Martin McKee, said:
"Using the coalition government's chosen measure of health outcomes, it is clear that the increased funding of the NHS in England and Wales under their predecessors made a real difference to health."
The report, led by investigators at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and RAND Europe, measured deaths amenable to medical care (death that shouldn't happen in the presence of timely and effective care), and performance in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland was compared.
Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health at the School, said:
"So far, most attention has been paid to measures of 'productivity', counting how many patients were treated at what cost. Yet this measure views patients as objects to be moved through the system as cheaply as possible, with no regard for whether they actually benefit."
Between 1990 and 1999, the investigation reveals how the pace of decline in deaths amenable to medical care in England and Wales were slightly slower in comparison to Scotland and Northern Ireland who received higher funding.
Professor McKee explains:
"Once the additional funding was made available to the NHS in England and Wales, the pace of improvement accelerated, overtaking that in the other two nations."
They warn that although amenable mortality is an important indicator of health system performance, when interpreting data certain methodological issues must be considered.
"The picture was not the same across the board. It varied by cause and not every change could be accounted for by the increase in funding. For example, deaths due to breast cancer reduced in all parts of the UK because of changes in the management of the disease in the 1990s, a time when new and effective drugs were being introduced and the national screening program was being rolled out."
Written by Grace Rattue