It is an epic financial squeeze. On the one hand, increasing numbers of elderly people, living longer with more treatable or containable conditions, and being treated with more available yet expensive drugs and other high-tech remedies. On the other hand, especially in countries with falling birth rates, a falling number of workers contributing to GDP and paying taxes.

The result is healthcare systems already feeling mounting pressure on resources, whatever their funding philosophy.

Gathering storm

The UK is just one example, a nation that is actually ageing more slowly than other countries in Europe. Despite this, 40% of the health service budget is already spent on the elderly, with a prediction that nearly a quarter of the population will be over 65 in 2039 (it was 12% in 1966).

As we reveal in the white paper, the rest of Europe, the USA, and Australia all have statistics trending in much the same direction.

Time for action

It is crystal clear, doing nothing or continuing as before is not tenable. However, if early action is taken to address current underfunding, then all is not lost.

Our white paper identifies viable future strategies for action, taking into account local conditions in the UK, Netherlands, USA and Australia.

Examples that are common amongst those countries include:

  • Outdated payment per service needs to be replaced with the money following the patient through their integrated clinical pathway.
  • Education about how living a healthy early life affects health in old age.
  • Greater emphasis and funding on health promotion.
  • Integrated care models to treat people in or near their home.

Human resources

Whatever the chosen strategy, one diagnosis is clear. There is a need to for a whole new breed of people to develop and advance the chosen solutions across government, industry, academia, financial services, the healthcare professions and care managers. The need is both on the commissioning and provider sides and includes those who will engage the public, nationally and internationally.

Next steps

To read more, and discover our recommendations for driving the drastic change at the pace and scale that’s required for the future care of the elderly.

Download our white paper

Find more information about the Healthcare Practice at Odgers Berndtson.

To discuss your leadership and talent needs, please get in touch.

Carmel Gibbons

Carmel Gibbons is a London based Partner and Head of the Healthcare practice. She is also a member of the Public Services and Not for Profit practice. Her work focuses mainly on senior appointments...

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