Saturday, June 08, 2013

Affordable excellence

The excellent Gillian Tett has an article in the FT plugging William Haseltine's book about the Singapore Healthcare system Affordable Excellence. This seems to be the first book that has been written (at least in the West) on the topic and it's really important.

As I said at the Global Investment Conference:
 for much of the G7, if you take a 10-30 year view, the rocketing entitlement spending is going to swamp anything that's done in the shorter term... there needs to be a long term programme to raise the retirement age, and a long term programme to move to something like a Singaporean model which gets better health outcomes for about half the EU's health expenditure and about a quarter of the US's,
There was general agreement on this from the panel, and indeed the Chancellor said he would (coincidentally) be meeting the Health Minister from Singapore the following day.

Here is one interesting quote which somewhat sums it up:
By the early 1990s, it became clear that healthcare costs were growing at an alarming rate that would soon put an unacceptable strain on the nation's as well as family finances. It was also recognized that increasing life expectancy was creating another challenge: how to care for the growing elderly population in Singapore. A Ministerial Committee was set up to review the role the government could play in containing costs, controlling subsidies, and ensuring the continued quality of care. In 1993, the committee issued its report in a White Paper...[which]...set forth five fundamental objectives:
  1. Become a healthy nation by promoting good health;
  2. Promote individual responsibility for one's own health and avoid overreliance on state welfare or third-party medical insurance;
  3. Ensure good and affordable basic medical services for all Singaporeans;
  4. Engage competition and market forces to improve service and raise efficiency; and
  5. Intervene directly in the healthcare sector when necessary, where the market fails to keep healthcare costs down.
Well worth studying. How we move from where we are now to where we need to be is another question...

No comments: