Nhs At 60 - The Cost Of Health

BBC Health Correspondent Branwen Jeffreys presents a series of debates as the NHS marks its sixtieth anniversary.
A panel of guests examines funding dilemmas that face the NHS and analyses how the cost of health is balanced against quality of care and the values of the NHS. Each programme features two expert advocates who marshall supporting evidence using case studies and data to argue their position. And in the studio, a business person and a politician are forced to reconcile principle with pragmatism and make tough choices between deserving cases. Niall Dickson of the King's Fund is on hand to provide the context for these important choices and explain how decisions are actually made within the NHS.


01Dementia V Mental Wellbeing20080701

Dementia and mental health care services are always pressed when budgets are tight, yet both are areas of increasing importance that seldom get the attention they deserve. The burden on families and carers of dementia sufferers is intense while in the case of mental health, the cost to society is huge. Alzheimer's patients and their families are challenging NICE's rulings about drug treatments in court; mental health advocates are calling on greater provision of effective but costly talking therapies over traditional drug treatments. So who gets priority?

02What Responsibilities Do Patients Have To The Nhs?20080708

To what degree should patients be held responsible for conditions caused by their lifestyles? If someone continues to drink after they've been diagnosed and treated for cirrhosis of the liver, should doctors deny further treatment and spend the money on preventing others falling into the same situation?

It's a grey and difficult area - heavy drinking can be a product of social factors and genetic predisposition, yet some specialists feel they are treating lost causes. Health promotion is one of the most vulnerable health service budgets, and its messages are often ignored - so is it time to give more money to promoting healthy lifestyles and will people listen?


In the last decade the NHS in England has used the private sector on an unprecedented scale. Critics claim that private sector involvement drives down standards in a bid to maximise profits, whereas supporters claim that commerical instinct has brought much-needed efficiency, competition and a focus on treating patients as consumers. To what extent should the private sector be involved in the NHS?

04 LASTWho Pays? The Financial Future Of The Nhs * *20080729

The idea of a health service free to all has been the cornerstone of the NHS. We are spending more than ever, but the expectations of healthcare and the costs of providing it are continually rising. Can these be met out of taxation, or will patients who can afford it increasingly top up their care? How much longer can the founding principles of the NHS remain intact?