Tackling inequality could save hospitals in Wales £322 million every year

16 Dec 2021 02:15 PM

Inequality in hospital service use is costing the NHS in Wales the equivalent of a brand new NHS hospital, or the yearly salaries of nearly 10,000 extra nurses every year, according to a new report from Public Health Wales.

Alternatively, the money saved could provide four times the funding required for the Welsh Government’s flagship programme Flying Start, which seeks to support the most disadvantaged families, communities and young children in Wales.

The report looking at different hospital services, says preventative action targeted at improving the health equity between advantaged and disadvantaged communities and their timely access to health services could help reduce a £322 million healthcare gap, especially in emergency admissions and A&E attendance.

The report found that the average annual cost of health service provision was generally higher for those living in our more deprived communities.  Costs were highest amongst working aged adults in all hospital service categories, except for elective inpatient admissions. The reasons for these gaps are complex and will be explored in further studies to expand understanding of how population differences and deprivation influence health service use in Wales.

This is particularly relevant during the Coronavirus pandemic response and future recovery of the NHS and the wider economy in Wales.

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