The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) has responded to the House of Lords Select Committee on the sustainability of the NHS with a series of suggestions including looking at raising the state pension age and making better use of telehealth and wearable technologies.
Additionally, the growing costs of social care should be reviewed alongside the sustainability of the NHS, says the IFoA, which outlines three areas where the Government should focus:
Widespread public engagement is crucial to understand the cost of social care as people have to pay for it;
People must be incentivised to save for care and not penalised;
Because people are living longer, but healthy life expectancy is not keeping pace, new technologies should be investigated to encourage healthier living to reduce demand for NHS services and create efficiencies in the health care system.
Charles Cowling, from the IFoA, commented: "The single largest challenge facing the funding of the NHS is increasing longevity, without a match in increasing healthy life expectancy.
"Technology has a role to play in improving our understanding of which groups of people are experiencing poor health in later life. Being able to better harness improvements in technology would not only help the NHS to better meet people's needs, but could also save money."
In its written response to the House of Lords, the IFoA says: "The use of wearables is creating efficiencies that could be useful in the health sector. Wearables are helping insurers to improve upon resource intensive and costly underwriting practices. Access to the continuous picture of a policyholder's health can reduce inconvenience to policyholders and provide the potential for insurers to digitally streamline their underwriting process, reducing cost."
The IFoA's full consultation response can be found here: https://www.actuaries.org.uk/documents/ifoa-response-sustainability-nhs-inquiry-21092016