What is it about?

Economists have known for about four decades that health care demand is a mix of the ageing population and the nearness to death effect. In the nearness to death effect around half of a person's lifetime hospital inpatient care is compressed into the last year of life. In the UK the number of deaths have been steadily declining since the 1970's and reached a minimum in 2011, since then they have dramatically risen. Whereas before nearness to death was working against the ageing population since 2011 the two are now working together. Medical admissions and associated ambulance workload have grown rapidly and will continue to do so for many years to come.

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Why is it important?

The nearness to death effect has never found its way across into demand forecasting and capacity planning. The whole basis of demand changed after 2011 and no one is correctly forecasting the enhanced demand.

Perspectives

This is of fundamental importance to understanding capacity and cost pressures.

Dr Rodney P Jones
Healthcare Analysis & Forecasting

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This page is a summary of: The nearness to death effect and why NHS pressures are going to intensify, Journal of Paramedic Practice, January 2019, Mark Allen Group, DOI: 10.12968/jpar.2019.11.1.28.
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