UK public health budgets are a ‘false economy’, research suggests

08 May 2017

Recent cuts made to public health budgets in the UK are set to cost the NHS and the wider economy ‘billions’, warns new research.


A systematic review, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, states that every £1 spent on public health returns an extra £14 on the original investment.

The researchers found 52 studies published over four decades that calculated a return on investment (ROI) for local and national public health initiatives or worked out the overall value for money of a project or proposal.

The studies looked at 29 public health interventions in the UK, western Europe, the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Critical analysis showed the average ROI for public health initiatives was 14.3 for every unit cost spent on it.

The researchers said the findings ‘clearly demonstrate that public health interventions are cost-saving, both to health services as well as the wider economy’.