Every £1.00 spent on public health returns an extra £14 on the original investment, according to a systematic review published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. | via OnMedica
Researchers identified 52 suitable studies published over four decades that had calculated a return on investment (ROI) for local and national public health initiatives and/or had worked out the overall value for money of a project or proposal—otherwise known as the cost-benefit ratio, (CBR).
Analysis of the data from these studies showed that the average ROI for a public health initiative was 14.3 for every unit cost spent on it, while the average CBR was 8.3.
When the overall impact of all 29 interventions was assessed, the ROI on local initiatives was 4.1, meaning that every £1 spent returns £4 plus the original £1 investment, while the average CBR was 10.3. Even larger benefits accrued for national policies. Analysis of the data from these showed that the average ROI was 27.2 while the average CBR was 17.2.
The authors of the research warn that recent cuts made to public health budgets in the UK are therefore a “false economy” and are set to cost an already overstretched NHS and the wider economy “billions”. They calculate that the recent £200 million cuts to public health funding in the UK will cost more like eight times as much – £1.6 billion.
Full reference: Masters R, Anwar E, Collins B, et al Return on investment of public health interventions: a systematic review Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, published online first: 29 March 2017