Valuing health: business case literature review

There is a strong moral argument for local authorities and their partners to work to improve the health of their communities and to reduce health inequalities. But investing in preventative public health also makes sound business sense.

The business case for health improvement rests on the difference between prevention and cure. Where it is possible to prevent problems, or reduce their likelihood at reasonable cost, this will be less expensive than treating problems when they occur.

For example, working with older people to maintain their health and independence will reduce social services costs as well as improve outcomes for residents. Furthermore, many council priorities are more likely to be achieved if the health of the community improves. This includes educational attainment, economic prosperity and creating sustainable, cohesive communities.

The Healthy Communities programme has produced a literature review that summarises the available evidence and research on the financial and non-financial impact of health improvement activity. This review highlights the need for a greater focus on the financial impact of health improvement activity on local government services. But it indicates that there are a number of areas where local authorities could expect to make efficiency savings. These include older people's health and independence, workforce health and climate change and sustainability.

This is an area of untapped potential. The next phase of the project will be to develop practical and useful tools to identify, cost and quantify the savings and improved outcomes resulting from health interventions. We are looking for a number of local authorities or partnerships to work with us on the design and development of these tools; we are also keen to learn from those already working on these issues.

For more information please contact Hannah.deacon@idea.gov.uk. Expressions of interest for involvement in this project to be received by 19 February 2010.

Business case literature review - summary report (PDF, 23 pages, 1.6MB)

Business Case Literature Review: Full report (PDF, 112 pages, 1.8MB large file)

Business case literature review chapters

If you are interested in a particular area, you can download chapters of the review individually.

1.0 Forward (PDF, 2 pages, 195KB)

2.0 Key implications for decision makers (PDF, 1 page, 123KB)

3.0 Background and approach (PDF, 5 pages, 174KB)

4.0 Building healthy communities: an overview (PDF, 6 pages, 226KB)

5.1 Early child development and education (PDF, 4 pages, 169KB)

5.2 Older people's health and independence (PDF, 5 pages, 211KB)

5.3 Social protection (PDF, 3 pages, 182KB)

5.4 Built environment: planning (PDF, 4 pages, 180KB)

5.5 Built environment: transport (PDF, 3 pages, 192KB)

5.6 Built environment: housing (PDF, 3 pages, 157KB)

5.7 Employment and work conditions (PDF, 5 pages, 209KB)

5.8 Social inclusion and social mobility (PDF, 4 pages, 189KB)

5.9 Culture and leisure (PDF, 4 pages, 175KB)

5.10 Climate change and sustainability (PDF, 4 pages, 210KB)

5.11 Crime and disorder (PDF, 4 pages, 179KB)

5.12 Smoking (PDF, 4 pages, 189KB)

5.13 Obesity (PDF, 4 pages, 177KB)

5.14 Sexual health and teenage pregnancy (PDF, 5 pages, 181KB)

5.15 Mental health (PDF, 6 pages, 217KB)

5.16 Physical activity (PDF, 7 pages, 242KB)

5.17 Drugs and alcohol (PDF, 5 pages, 181KB)

6.0 Implications (PDF, 3 pages, 297KB)

7.0 Afterword (PDF, 1 page, 220KB)

8.1 Appendix One: Referencees (PDF, 14 pages, 195KB)

8.2 Appendix Two: Databases (PDF, 1 page, 197KB)

Further information

If you would like further information, or you are interested in your council being involved in the project, please contact:

Hannah Deacon, Consultant
telephone: 077 6968 3075
email: hannah.deacon@idea.gov.uk

20 January 2010

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