The King's Fund Chief Economist to conduct Wanless-style review into health and social care in Northern Ireland

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The King's Fund chief economist Professor John Appleby is to carry out an independent review of health and social care provision in Northern Ireland.

The review of the position in Northern Ireland follows similar studies carried out by former NatWest chief executive Derek Wanless for the UK as a whole and in Wales.

John Appleby will examine the provision of care and judge whether resources are being used effectively and efficiently and what changes need to be made. He will formally commence work on the review in January 2005 with a final report due to be completed by June 2005.

Professor Appleby said:

'I'm very pleased to have been asked to lead this review. It is a tremendous opportunity to examine how health and social care services in Northern Ireland will need to develop over the next twenty years. Health services across the UK are enjoying unprecedented levels of funding but, at the same time, they are under increasing pressure to justify how that extra money is spent. This is no different in Northern Ireland where the health and social care sector consumes 40 per cent of public spending.

'My review will look at future funding and how resources can best be used. We will need to learn from the past and the experience of other health care systems in order to ultimately improve health and social care services for patients and the public in Northern Ireland.'

The main objectives of the Appleby Review will be to consider and make recommendations in a number of areas, including:

  • the current position in levels of demand in relation to the levels of funding available
  • the demands of the population for health and social services in NI , taking account of its distinctive characteristics, in terms of long term and sustainable resourcing
  • technological, demographic, medical and other trends over the next two decades that may have implications for the future resource needs of the health and social care sector
  • ways in which the interactions between the health and social care systems can be improved to maximise performance and the use of resources.

The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson added:

'The two reviews Derek Wanless carried out were very influential and The King's Fund is proud that its chief economist is to conduct a similar review for Northern Ireland. As health technologies develop and needs change, these sorts of reviews are vitally important. They help to keep a focus on the key issues in health and social care - funding, efficiency and effectiveness - which are fundamental to all health and social care systems.'

Consultation with patient groups, health and social care workers, professional bodies, Trusts and those responsible for reform in England's NHS will form a major part of the review. It will consider information and research already produced but it will also scrutinise the effectiveness and efficiency of use of resources in service delivery within Northern Ireland. Professor Appleby will refer for advice and comment to a formal reference group of those with direct experience of the health sector as well as an informal advisory group of respected academics in the field of health economics and health policy.

Notes to editors

1. For further information, interviews or a copy of the review's terms of reference, please contact the King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, or 07831 554927. To contact the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel, please contact its press office on 028 9052 7376.

2. Professor John Appleby has researched and published widely on many aspects of health service funding, rationing, resource allocation and performance. He previously worked as an economist with the NHS in Birmingham and London, and at the universities of Birmingham and East Anglia as Senior Lecturer in health economics. He is a visiting Professor at the department of economics at City University.

3. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.