Identify cost effective actions

There is high demand on public services whilst public spending is being squeezed. Investment in prevention (‘preventative spend’), could meet demand in a cost-effective way. 

Our work so far has found that

  • many preventative measures are cost-effective
  • some forms of prevention are likely to reduce health inequalities
  • some of these interventions will reduce the future demand for health and social care
  • some will be cost-saving, but most will generate further health and other benefits for extra costs
  • there is increasing evidence that taxation or other policies affecting prices, regulations, and legislation to change behaviours are likely to be both cost-effective and effective in reducing health inequalities.

Our Economics of Prevention inequality briefing outlines current evidence on the economics of prevention. It provides links to a range of recent evidence from organisations like World Health Organization, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England.

Our study ‘Best preventative investments in Scotland – what the evidence and experts say’ sets out the principles and specific areas for action for policy makers to consider.

Identifying cost effective actions

There are several sources of support to identify cost effective actions.

  • The Informing Interventions to reduce health Inequalities (Triple I) tool allows you to compare the estimated health and health inequality impact of 11 public health interventions at national or local level.
  • The Health Economic Network for Scotland (HENS) website has resources and information about events and training that will help you apply health economics in your work and take part in networking activities.
  • The Health Economic Evidence Resource (HEER) tool contains evidence on the cost-effectiveness and return on investment of a wide range of public health activities. The tool highlights the inputs and assumptions used in over 250 studies. The evidence is summarised across more than 20 criteria. You can filter by the criteria to find relevant studies to you and apply the evidence to your local setting. The HEER evidence has been quality assured by Public Health England.
  • Seek support from someone with health economics skills to help you identify what economic evidence and analysis you might need to inform your work