Health

Sally Gainsbury

The amount the NHS spends per patient will fall by at least £98 by 2020 under funding pledges made by each of the main political parties, figures based on NHS England’s internal calculations reveal.

The figures show that despite the current “ring fence” which protects the NHS budget in England from inflation, spending measured on health officials’ preferred measure – estimated patient numbers, which take account of the fact that as people age, they get sicker – has already dropped by £50 per patient since 2009. Read more

The current Ebola virus outbreak has claimed more than 4,000 lives in West Africa, as well as one in the US where the victim had been visiting Liberia, the country with the highest death toll so far.

Our interactive graphic tracks the outbreak’s spread since the World Health Organisation first issued a global alert in March 2014

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In news that will delight statisticians everywhere the distinction between the mean and the median finally has the political profile it deserves.

Yesterday Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK statistical authority, wrote a letter clarifying an ongoing debate between Labour and Conservative politicians on waiting times in accident and emergency rooms. Read more

The Office for National Statistics has, for the first time, included estimates of the impact of prostitution and illegal drugs in the national accounts. By the ONS’ reckoning they add about £10bn to the British economy.

Estimates of anything to do with the black economy are always going to be uncertain at best, but the statistics available are pretty interesting. Read more

By Andrew Jack and John Burn-Murdoch

The good news is that we are living longer. Among OECD nations, average life expectancy exceeded 80 years in 2011. There is a strong link to income but also to the structure of national health systems. The biggest outliers are Russia, Norway and the US, with below average life in relation to GDP per capita. Read more

By Andrew Jack

The global sales of prescription medicines is starting to accelerate and will reach $1 trillion next year, according to new estimates from IMS.

The data shows slowed growth since the 2008 financial crisis, when the loss of lucrative patents on drugs pushed down prices for drug companies just as the economic slowdown imposed austerity measures by governments and squeezed incomes by individuals paying out of pocket for healthcare. Read more