CF with the NHS Confederation

Best Use of Thought Leadership

In August 2022 against a backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis and strong emphasis on economic growth by the current government, there were clear signals that cuts were going to be needed in public spending. In conversation with NHS Confederation (Confed), the membership body for NHS organisations, we discussed concerns that spending on health and care might be treated as another cost to be minimised rather than an investment in the health and productivity of the country.

We needed to highlight the direct link between health and care funding and the health of our country’s workforce and economic activity. We partnered with Confed to create targeted, evidence-based analysis demonstrating the economic value of investment in the NHS, targeting wide dissemination. As a headline to our report, we agreed to focus on the question “What is the economic value of £1 invested in the NHS?”.

To conduct our analysis, we brought together a five-year longitudinal dataset at county level covering health spend and activity, workforce, and economic activity, to our knowledge for the first time. We were able to demonstrate that every £1 increase in NHS spend is associated with a £4 increase in GVA and provide evidence for a causal relationship. We also showed evidence for our secondary hypothesis, that increased spend leads to an increase in NHS workforce, which in turns leads to better health outcomes for the population providing a larger and more productive general workforce.

When the statement was released, we were pleased to see that NHS spending had been ring-fenced. We believe our work changed the conversation around economic growth and the NHS and contributed to this positive outcome.

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