How Much Do We Use the NHS?

Misuse of the NHS is wasting the UK £1 billion in annual tax revenue. Each year there are an estimated 51 million unnecessary GP visits and A&E resources are under strain from increasing unnecessary demand.

In the wake of a further expected rise in NHS costs, Jesse Norman MP and Museji Takolia put forward an innovative solution to curbing misuse.

In a new report How Much Do We Use the NHS?published by the Centre for Policy Studies on 29 October 2014, the authors propose the introduction of Annual Healthcare Statements.

  • Annual Healthcare Statements would inform users of the NHS which services they had received over the past 12 months, and allow them to examine and understand the costs (and by implication appreciate the value) of those services to the NHS.
  • Where the same or similar service could be provided less expensively – say by visiting their GP rather than A&E – they would also be able to see the savings to be made.
  • Over time it might also be possible to add specific incentives to encourage users to make more appropriate use of the NHS at little or no cost to themselves.
  • Healthcare Statements would be simple and transparent. They have the potential to save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds every year by encouraging users to change their behaviour and to take greater personal responsibility.

Media Impact: 

A report today from the Centre for Policy Studies suggests that more than 50 million visits to GPs and A&E each year are unnecessary, wasting an estimated £1 billion. The authors propose the introduction of annual healthcare statements informing users of the NHS services they have received over the past 12 months. This is a good idea. If people are confronted with the costs, they might think more carefully about the most appropriate way of using the system.

The idea is simple. Everyone who uses NHS services would receive a statement every year, showing which services they had received and how much they cost. Where cheaper treatment options were available that were just as good – say, visiting a family doctor rather than an emergency room – they would also be told how much this would have saved.”

Museji Takolia, Jesse Norman MP - Tuesday, 28th October, 2014