The ‘opioid epidemic’ in the US is the most recent drug-abuse challenge from the misuse of prescription medicines or the use of illicit drugs. It is a particularly difficult challenge because thousands of patients benefit from the prescription pain killers that originally fuelled the crisis. Ceasing production and use of such medications, then, is not the right answer. But the crisis has recently entered a more lethal phase, one that involves the use of illicit synthetic opioids which are both more addictive and more deadly.
Debate about funding has highlighted the difficulty of persuading sceptics that the NHS is a good use of public finance. There is a widely held view – particularly in finance ministries and some sections of the media – that health systems such as the NHS are ‘black holes’, constantly demanding increased funding without concomitant returns to society.
Low levels of mortality are important indicators of societal success. This lecture is about trends in mortality in the white non-Hispanic population in the United States of America (US), a subject which is not only interesting in itself, but also of global significance because we are all wondering whether this could happen to our own societies or to specific groups within them. The lecture was delivered by Professor Case, Sir Angus added some further reflections and then both professors engaged in a question and answer session at the end. The work discussed here, which is part of a much larger research agenda, leads to comparisons between the US and what might be happening in Europe.The authors’ most recent work on the topic of mortality rates is summarised in three papers (Case and Deaton 2015, 2017a, 2017b; there are links to these papers at https://scholar.princeton.edu/accase/publications).
This version of the text is based on a transcript of the lecture and, as such, is often less formal and more colloquial than might be expected in an academic paper.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), created in April 2006, is a “virtual” organisation often referred to as the research arm of the NHS. It funds health and care research in the UK, translating discoveries into practical products, treatments, devices and procedures, involving patients and the public in all its work. The NIHR also ensures that the NHS is able to support the research of other funders, thereby encouraging broader investment in, and economic growth from, health research.
This monograph, based on Professor Maynard’s remarks at the 20th OHE Annual Lecture, explores the critical issue of ensuring the quality of care in the NHS. The lecture was delivered just five months after release of the Francis Report, which was the result of a public inquiry into serious failures in patient care at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. As with many such inquiries in the past, Francis’s recommendations envisioned more regulation.
This publication provides both up-to-date statistics and a guide to finding and using health statistics from the UK and, to some extent, other OECD countries. Data are presented in easy-to-read tables and figures.
The OHE Guide helps answer these important questions: