Budget cuts leading to ‘estimated 200,000 extra deaths’ over ten years
Cuts in government health spending led to almost 50,000 deaths extra deaths in England from 2010 to 2014, new research has claimed.
A study published in the BMJ Open estimates that cuts to public expenditure on social care will lead to a further 150,000 deaths extra between 2015 to 2020.
The majority of the estimated 45,368 more deaths between 2010 and 2014 were care home and home care residents, with NHS hospitals performing better than expected in the same period.
The researchers admit that while the study cannot prove cause and effect, it did find a chronological correlation, with changes in spending followed by changes in mortality.
The study, conducted by medical researchers from universities including Oxford, Cambridge, and UCL, found that the number of deaths in England increased between 2011 and 2014 at an average of 0.87% per year.
They have linked this to an annual decrease in spending on adult social care by 1.19% between 2010 and 2014.
Lower numbers of nurses and social care clinical support staff has also been associated with increased care home mortality.
The study estimated that an additional 152,141 deaths could take place from 2015 to 2020 if these trends continued, with up to 100 further deaths per day expected if action is not taken.
The report suggests that approximately £25.3 billion is needed to prevent a further increase in mortality rates.
Dr Ben Maruthappu, UCL research scientist, and senior author of the study, said: ‘This study demonstrates that despite challenging economic circumstances, the NHS performed well between 2010-2014.
‘However, the same cannot be said for social care. While the Government’s investment into social care earlier this year is welcome, it is clear that more must be done, with better modernisation of services, and protection of health & social care funding.’