02 MAY 2012 | DEEPAK JOBANPUTRA
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”
You may recognise American author Mark Twain’s quote citing the challenges we all face in trying to lead a healthy life. More than a century later, it still rings true. Around the globe, there is a growing focus from governments and leading organisations on helping the world to become a healthier place.
The UK government spends more than £120bn a year on healthcare, representing more than 20% of total expenditure. There are many challenges and choices to be made when it comes to spending on health, and actuaries have a huge role to play. We focus this month on the NHS reforms and how the health system and GPs in particular will face difficult choices that would be made easier with actuarial skills.
The Dilnot review of long-term care features strongly, including an interview with Andrew Dilnot. This should be of interest to us all, as it will help shape the future of social care. We often forget how fortunate we are to have a state healthcare system in the UK. It is a model that many other countries would welcome, although the challenge of creating such a system would strike fear into the strongest leaders’ hearts.
The UK public, however, is anticipating change; research shows that we expect less from the state than previous generations. Ubiquitous media headlines on welfare reform, demographic change and the cost of pensions have led us to accept that increasing self-provision will become the norm. With our blend of skills as actuaries, we have an important role to play in shaping the health of our society and, in particular, the design of suitable options in both the public and private sector. It is important that we engage with key stakeholders to ensure that the health of our nation is preserved.
Lastly, Richard Elliott is relinquishing his position as arts editor of The Actuary. If you are interested in applying for this role, please email me at the address below. Deepak Jobanputra