Economic Benefits of Reducing Elective Waiting Lists in the NHS
The “Modelling the Economic Benefits of Reducing Elective Waiting Lists in the NHS” report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) investigates the impact of elective waiting times on the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and the broader economy. The study examines the significant benefits of reducing these waiting times and outlines policy recommendations to achieve this goal.
Waiting lists are still growing: The report highlights the increasing challenge of long waiting times for elective treatments in the NHS, with 7.2 million people currently on the waiting list. However, the true challenge could be more than double, with an additional estimated 7.8 million people hidden from the official figures.
A very challenging task still ahead: Delivering the Elective Recovery Plan’s 30% increase in elective activity is a challenging task. The Institute of Fiscal Studies recently stated that real progress against the backlog remains ‘elusive’.
The economic benefits of reducing the backlog are significant: The IPPR estimates that delivering against the target set by the Elective Recovery Plan would deliver an estimated increase in production of £73 billion over five years (2027).
The true economic benefit could be even greater: A Wider Societal Benefits model developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) estimates that further halo effects could lead to a gain in net production of £83 billion over five years
IPPR’s suggestion to accelerate and achieve the Elective Recovery Plan
Partnership with independent sector providers: Collaboration between the NHS and the independent sector to address capacity constraints, maximize the utilization of existing NHS assests and share best practices
Increased funding: allocating more resources to the NHS to enable capacity expansion, staff recruitment, and training
Service reorganization: Streamlining patient pathways and optimizing the use of existing resources to enhance efficiency
Technological adoption: Investing in digital health solutions and innovative medical technologies to improve patient care and optimize resource allocation
£18b in GDP Contribution
from patients returning to work or increasing their hours worked (contributing directly to GDP
£55b from childcare or sickness care
from increased unpaid productive activities such as childcare or sickness care for relative
£14b from less reliability on health services#
in savings over five years relying less on health and care services derived from people being in better health following treatment