"Bring on the healthcare revolution" says RoSPA chief executive Tom Mullarkey

The chief executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) sets out his vision for a healthcare revolution, in his message to the safety charity’s annual meeting today (November 14).

With the healthcare system currently driven by treatment, with prevention only ever on the sidelines, Tom Mullarkey says there is little opportunity to ease the burden on the NHS which is most notably displayed as the growing pressure on A&E. “This can only lead to the eventual collapse of the NHS, or a much larger (and quite unnecessary) tax burden on the public,” he says in the RoSPA Annual Review 2013/14, which is published today.

To solve the problem, he says the spotlight must fall upon the forces that currently operate the prioritisation system within healthcare.

In addition to basing public health priorities on mortality (death) and Preventable Years of Life Lost (PrYLL - a measure of preventable, early death), the critical measures of morbidity (the incidence of injury/disease), the cost to society and the state, and the cost and value of each kind of health intervention measured in efficacy, cost-effectiveness and return on investment, must be considered. “Only then will there be a proper link between the treatment burden, which is itself only a mirror of the pain and suffering of our people, and the preventative measures which have the capacity to reduce this misery,” says Mr Mullarkey.

He continues: “If this kind of strategic prioritisation took place (and we are working with our partners at NICE and Public Health England to make it happen), accident prevention would come out as the No 1 priority for the healthcare system. Accidents are not only the biggest killer measured in PrYLL, they are a huge cause of morbidity (and the biggest single cause of our A&E queues), the biggest single cost to society and the state in healthcare terms and their prevention measures are the most efficacious and cost-effective interventions. And if this kind of prioritisation took place, everyone in our society would be a beneficiary - it would quite simply optimise the number of people who can live long and healthy lives, at the least cost.”

In addition to its work with NICE and Public Health England, Mr Mullarkey sets out RoSPA’s ongoing partnership, known as the AlliancE, with the College of Emergency Medicine, which is forging links between those trying to prevent accidents and those responsible for treating their consequences.

Joining forces strategically and prioritising resources economically presents the healthcare system’s “big opportunity to think big and act bold,” he says. “It is time for something new and fresh, driven by inescapable logic and an audacious confrontation of the facts. It is time for a healthcare revolution.”



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