The cost of dentistry now exceeds £100 million a year. In terms of a single specific illness or disease this figure is second only to the cost of mental illness and is greater than direct National Health Service expenditure on conditions such as pregnancy or the treatment of heart disease, bronchitis or tuberculosis.
At the last census in 1966 there were nearly 12 million people aged between 45 and 64 in England and Wales. This age group, which for convenience will be termed 'middle age' throughout this paper, covers the second part of economically active life. It is a time during which, while many careers are still reaching a peak, a decline in physical and mental powers has already begun to set in. As middle age is entered, a new phase of life begins. Patterns of morbidity and mortality rapidly alter as degenerative diseases become increasingly more significant.
Attitudes towards the 'ideal' weight vary both from society to society and also over time. In many societies, large size and a big appetite are equated with health. In Tunisia and other parts of Africa, young girls are fattened-up for marriage, and the chieftain's prestige may be judged as much by his girth as by the number of his wives or children. The late Aga Khan, leader of the Mohammedan Ismailo Sect, was weighed every year on his birthday and if he had gained in weight he received gifts in precious stones and metals to the same amount.
By 1990, the total cost of the National Health Service will probably have reached about £10,000 million of which about £1,300 million will be for medicines prescribed by general practitioners and hospital doctors. At 1968 prices the corresponding figures would be about £4,500 million and £600 million.
Over the past few years there has been a growing concern with Britain’s record of industrial innovation based upon technology. This stems from two factors. Firstly, it is increasingly appreciated that the UK’s success, if not survival, as a trading nation depends upon its ability to produce and sell new products which are more advanced, more efficient, or of better&n
This book contains the third series of Winter Lectures organised by the Office of Health Economics, and the first to be given after the publication of the 'Sainsbury Report'. Mr Freeman in his foreword to the volume containing the second series wrote: 'Not unnaturally some of the papers are concerned to justify the policies and practices of the principal firms in the industry.'
The total expenditure on medicines in the United Kingdom in 1966 was £267 million. Of this £188 million was for medicines prescribed on the National Health Service. The other £79 million was spent by the public mainly for medicines bought without a doctor's prescription. Thus self-treatment still forms an important aspect of medical care, although in terms of cost it accounts for less than half per cent of total consumer expenditure.
Iron deficiency anaemia is a very common condition in the United Kingdom. Prevalence is greatest amongst women of child-bearing age and elderly men and women. Detection is easy, accurate and fairly cheap by means of a simple battery operated haemoglobin meter. Anaemia is not a disease entity in itself, but a result of various causes. Thus, its morbidity rate and mortality rate are the collective ones for all the many underlying causes.
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema account for 7 per cent of all deaths in men and 3 per cent in women between the ages of 45-64. Simple bronchitis can be diagnosed by asking about persistent expectoration, or more specifically by measuring the volume of sputum a specimen of which, if purulent, will also permit the diagnosis of mucopurulent bronchitis. Obstructive bronchitis can be diagnosed by spirometry or by measuring peak flow and forced expiry time. These cheap, accurate and simple tests can be carried out by the General Practitioner.
Deaths from ischaemic heart disease are increasing amongst the early middle-aged in many countries. Over one quarter of all deaths amongst British males under the age of 45 are caused by arteriosclerotic heart disease and there is ample social and economic justification for attempting to detect asymptomatic and early disease — but only if effective preventive treatment is available.