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Inequality, savings and investment in health – this week’s Friday Five

Sure Start programme saved the NHS millions of pounds

Research conducted by The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that Sure Start children’s centres, offering high levels of service in poor neighbourhoods in England, visits to hospitals fell among all children of primary school age and a third of 11 year olds. Fewer visits to hospital delivered a direct saving to the NHS, totalling to £5m. A key objective of Sure Start was to provide specialist heath services to parents, such as baby-weighing clinics, alongside more general health advice and parenting support, childcare and employment advice. The study conducted urges the government to recognise Sure Start’s “big positive effect on children’s health” when considering public spending plans in the future.

Read more in the Guardian.

Pushing the body to the limit

It has been found that the ultimate limit of human endurance is capped at 2.5 times the body’s resting metabolic rate, which equates to 4,000 calories per day. Participants running the Race Across the USA, an almighty 3,000 mile run from California to Washington DC, were studied along their journey by Duke University. They found a correlation between the length of a sporting event and energy expenditure, such that the more endurance experienced the harder it is to burn through calories.

Read more in the BBC.

A future for AI in the NHS

Speaking at the Reform Health Conference on 5 June, Simon Stevens pledged to consider reimbursement reforms to the NHS tariff and other payment systems to incentivise uptake of AI technologies across the health system. These changes will be expected to take effect from April 2020.

Read more in the ComputerWeekly.com.

Can Mumsnet solve the nursing shortage?

The NHS are using the online parenting forum, Mumsnet, as a new approach to fill nursing vacancies. NHS bosses see the online parenting chatroom and website as a crucial partner to entice nurses who have left the profession, to rejoin it. A national return-to-practice scheme was set up in 2014 and is now being expanded. It offers catch-up training and a route back for nurses and support staff who have let their professional registrations lapse.

Read more on the BBC.


Quote of the week

“The enormous pressures facing the NHS and cuts to local government funding are putting people’s health at risk and allowing inequalities to widen. Without the government committing the funding that our communities need, tackling London’s health inequalities is going to be much harder.”

Our quote of the week comes from Dr Tom Coffey OBE, Mayor of London Health Advisor, in response to the launch of Centre for Progressive Policy’s report “Beyond the NHS: Addressing the root causes of poor health” exploring the future of health and social care and heralds a renewed focus on the social determinants of health.

Read more on the HSJ.