Skip to content

News

Sir John Bell - ‘TBI plan for preventative vaccines and therapeutics would save the NHS tens of billions of pounds’


Press Release23rd December 2023

  • Preventable diseases are costing the NHS and wider society hundreds of billions of pounds.

  • TBI is calling for the establishment of a new, nationwide preventative-health programme.

  • Bringing preventative vaccines and therapeutics to everyone at heightened risk of disease or having their quality of life or employability threatened by a preventable or chronic disease.

A bold new programme of preventative vaccines and therapeutics, proposed today in a new paper from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI), could save the NHS tens of billions of pounds.

The new paper ‘Moving From Cure to Prevention Could Save the NHS Billions: A Plan to Protect Britain’ proposes bringing preventative vaccines and therapeutics to everyone at heightened risk of dying or having their quality of life or employability threatened by a preventable or chronic disease.

It suggests launching a new programme that will transform health care through three areas:

  1. Prevention: Reducing the risk of contracting certain diseases and conditions and mitigating their impact.

  2. Screening: Identifying conditions and diseases early and understanding personal risk.

  3. Innovation: Adopting and making available new, proven innovations at speed and directing research towards priority conditions and diseases.

Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford said:

“As the disease burden in western health systems has shifted and the focus has moved to providing not just years of extended life but years of extended healthy life, the system for delivering health care needs a fundamental change. The diseases which are putting pressure on the NHS and creating a crippling drag on the economy are the major comorbidities that our health system has largely overlooked, such as obesity, dementia, mental health and other chronic diseases amenable to preventative strategies.

“We live 80% of our lives in a presymptomatic sea of risk factors and the 1950s health system leaps into action only in end stage disease. As the economics is revealing, we cannot afford the chronic disease drag on work force and productivity or its impact on patient welfare. We need to act now and pivot the system towards prevention and early diagnosis and therapy. This is the roadmap for how it could happen.”

TBI Executive Director for Politics Ryan Wain said:

“Britain’s economy is suffering from the highest ever levels of chronic sickness and its healthcare system is under unprecedented strain. The next government can save billions and radically improve the health of the nation by launching ‘Protect Britain’ - a preventative health programme that brings a new generation of vaccines, therapeutics and screenings to those at-risk of otherwise preventable diseases. "It would build on the infrastructure created during the pandemic and be delivered in communities, pharmacies, primary care and other settings. Success will be measured by the reversal of two unfortunate records Britain wants to forget: the highest number of people off work due to ill health and record demand on the NHS. It has the potential to save us billions.

“Ultimately, ‘Protect Britain’ is an investment in our future and will make for a healthier, happier, more prosperous population.”

An estimated 2.6 million people are now out of work due to sickness and a record 104.9 million working days are lost to long-term health conditions every year. Against a backdrop of continually rising health-care costs – with 40 per cent of the NHS budget spent on treating preventable diseases – it’s clear that the UK must shift health care towards prevention, both to save lives and to save money.

By creating a dedicated platform, Britain can move at the speed of preventative innovation and rapidly bring new treatments online to those who need them. Over time, Protect Britain would include health screening and preventative services across a range of diseases and ensure Britain is at the forefront of procurement by adopting a model akin to that of the Vaccine Taskforce set up during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Advisory services and social prescribing, including incentivising exercise and healthier diets, will enable citizens to change their lifestyle and thereby reduce their long-term disease risks. This is critical if the UK is to reverse a trend in obesity that already costs society £98 billion a year.

‘Protect Britain’ would be data-driven, with eligibility determined by digitally connecting and reading a patient’s record. The collective, nationwide insight on this scale would provide real-time data on the effectiveness of preventative interventions and give Britain a competitive advantage in life sciences. It would serve as the ultimate level of demand management for the NHS, preventing or delaying the onset of severe diseases, freeing hospital beds and making the NHS sustainable.

This programme could save tens of billions in treatment costs. Even reducing obesity by just 10 per cent could save taxpayers £10 billion a year by 2040 – almost 5 per cent of the current NHS annual budget.

‘Protect Britain’ would be charged with proactively identifying patients who are at risk of or suffering from preventable diseases and conditions. This would draw on a data-driven approach that utilises individual patient records and, deploying tactics from Covid-19, engages individuals directly to support them in making use of preventative measures. This proactivity and outreach would mark a shift away from a primarily reactive health-care service.

Article Tags


No Tags Found

Newsletter

Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions