The report by The Medical Technology Group (MTG), ‘Keeping Britain Working – how medical technology can help reduce the cost of ill health to the UK economy’, examines the societal and economic impact of medical technologies in the UK. In this report the MTG has conducted their own study, looking at 8 areas and the savings that are currently being generated or the savings that could be available through improved patient access. The MTG found evidence of up to £476.5 million in savings for the UK Government when looking at just 8 technologies. It was concluded that through better use of technology the NHS would allow patients to “get their independence back and lead full and active lives” in addition to savings for the Government.
The technologies examined and key finding include:
- Hip replacements – 18,500 people are currently in work thanks to a hip replacement, saving the UK Government £70m
- Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs) – £3m per year is saved through patients returning to work with an ICD. If the UK had the same implant rate as the European average, they would save a total of £4.3m
- Insulin pumps – insulin pumps save the UK Government £13.8m every year and allow people with diabetes to manage their condition more effectively and give them the freedom to work and lead active lives
- Diagnostics – data shows that in sepsis alone there could be savings of £160m if patients were given access to rapid diagnosis
- Uterine Fibroid Embolisation – fibroid embolization is less invasive and traumatic for women than undergoing a hysterectomy. Improved access could also deliver £76m of savings
- Pain management – around 1% of patients living with chronic pain could benefit from a Spinal Cord Stimulator, this would see 1,000 people returned to work and save the Government £3.8m
- Wound care – improved chronic wound management can deliver £25.3m of savings
- Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI) – PCI can open up blocked arteries and help patients lead a normal life. PCI currently saves the UK around £123.3m per year
The current healthcare system usually does not take into account the wider economic and societal impact of treatments when considering whether to fund them or not. By focusing on the upfront and implementation costs, these long-term economic and societal savings are missed. This has been a recurring theme across the NHS, which has continually fails to consider the longer-term impact and therefore struggles to provide adequate healthcare for patients within the current budget. While progress is being made, such as the creation of Sustainability Transformation Partnerships and Vanguards in the Five Year Forward View, adapting the current processes to take into account implications of technologies further down the line could help release financial pressure of the system in the long run. Despite the uncertainty surrounding future forecasting, If these savings can be captured and spread across the system, it could help lift some of the financial pressures surrounding our current healthcare system.