The £54 billion price tag of rising cardiovascular disease rates

The £54 billion price tag of rising cardiovascular disease rates
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New research finds that growing cardiovascular disease rates in England and Wales could cost £54 billion in health and social care costs.

University of Liverpool researchers have found that the growing cardiovascular disease rates across England and Wales will be detrimental to health and social care costs. Between 2020 and 2029, cardiovascular disease rates will cost the NHS some £13bn, £1.5 billion in social care costs, £8bn in the value of informal care and £32bn in the value of lost ‘quality-adjusted life years’ (QALYs).

One of the authors of the study, Dr Brendan Collins, said: “This modelling reinforces that ‘what is good for the heart is good for the brain’ – meaning that if we reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke, we also reduce the future prevalence of dementia, so it is not simply the case that preventing disease now means that health and social care costs are higher in future – a healthier population saves money across the life course.”

The study was published in PLOS ONE and was a collaboration between the University of Liverpool with colleagues from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, University College London, Imperial College London, as well as Universities of Helsinki, Gdansk, Bristol, and Cambridge.

Increasing cardiovascular disease rates in England and Wales

The cardiovascular disease rates started to grow in 2010, whereas before 2010, rates improved year on year.

Evidence has revealed that COVID-19 is a risk factor for new cardiovascular disease, and the infection can also rapidly worsen disease outcomes. This highlights the importance of preventing cardiovascular conditions whilst the world battles COVID-19 to encourage improved disease rates.

To combat the growing rates, the researchers recommend reducing poverty levels, improving diet through a healthier food system, tobacco control and increasing exercise.

Prof Eric Brunner, a lead investigator of the study at UCL, said: “Our modelling work using official UK data highlights the increasing pressure, year on year, in the social care system for older people. Financial resources and trained personnel are both in short supply. Poorer people and their families are most vulnerable to the growing gap between supply and need, as they are unable to pay for social care.”

Employing the IMPACT Better Ageing Model (IMPACT BAM)

The study utilised IMPACT BAM, a mathematical model which focuses on the connection between cardiovascular disease, disability and dementia based on data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

This study is the first academic paper to address the relationship between ageing, cardiovascular disease, disability, dementia, and increasing NHS and social care costs. The research teams will look at the effect of specific interventions to prevent cardiovascular conditions and dementia in the future.

The researchers noted it is challenging to fund policies that aim to mitigate rising cardiovascular disease rates; however, the burden on health and social care systems without intervention will be costly.


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