Healthcare innovations 'could save the NHS £18.5 billion'
International Longevity Centre says seven healthcare innovations could save the NHS £18.5 billion and the social care sector £6.3 billion.
Health innovations could save the NHS and social care sectors billions of pounds, according to a think tank.
Just seven healthcare innovations could save the NHS £18.5 billion and the social care sector £6.3 billion in 15 years, estimates the independent think tank the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK).
Its report, Towards affordable healthcare: Why effective innovation is key, says that although the UK is well placed to innovate to improve health outcomes and reduce costs, it is often ‘not doing enough with the tools at its disposal’.
ILC-UK highlighted seven successful global and UK-based innovations, calculating the savings that could be achieved by introducing them across the UK.
The Memory First project, an integrated dementia service run by a consortium of GPs and healthcare staff in Staffordshire, could save up to £38 million between 2019 and 2030 if its working methods are applied nationally, the report states.
The service, which is offered by 41 practices, has been instrumental in reducing dementia diagnosis times in Staffordshire, from three years to four weeks.
Facilitators recruited from the community, including retired healthcare professionals, act as companions and advocates for people with dementia and coordinate access to services.
Nurses' expertise key
University of Manchester honorary reader in old age psychiatry David Jolley established the memory service in Gnosall, near Stafford, with colleague Ian Greaves in 2006.
He said: ‘One version of the roll out by South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust saw nurses supplementing the work of the consultant. That seemed to work well – very able and committed nurses making best use of what time they got from their consultants.
‘The key to the original Gnosall project and the modifications which have followed, was bringing specialist psychogeriatric expertise into the primary care team and to establish in the team someone who would help identify people who might have dementia or a related disorder so that they could be assessed, treated and supported within the practice.’
Dr Greaves added: ‘The service is very cost-effective but care and compassion given to vulnerable frightened people with dementia is priceless.’
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