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Changes not cuts can save NHS £20 billion

The NHS can save over £20bn by 2014 if clinicians and patients are given the right to design healthcare services claims a new report by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

The NHS can save over £20bn by 2014 if clinicians and patients are given the right to design healthcare services claims a new report by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

The report shows that reducing the biggest cost to the NHS - £69bn per year[1] for treating long-term conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes - will require the adoption of new forms of healthcare, delivered by people with the best understanding of the conditions. Doing so would provide a saving of at least £6.9bn a year - 10% of its annual budget for treating long-term conditions - from 2011 until 2014.

In addition, involving communities in the prevention of long-term conditions is also shown to have a significant impact on changing behaviour. By reversing the traditional top down approach to healthcare service design, communities who ran behaviour change campaigns saw reduced levels of illnesses and an increase in healthy living at a fraction of the cost of government run campaigns.

Jonathan Kestenbaum, NESTA's Chief Executive says: 'The NHS does not have to choose between saving money and saving lives, or between cutting costs and reforming itself. It is possible to develop cheaper, more effective patient-centred services and approaches to public behaviour change but only by adopting radical new ways of innovating within the NHS.'

The report, titled The Human Factor adds that for the NHS to be successful, patients and clinicians will need to be put in control, using vehicles like social enterprise to make change happen.

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