Reframing health as an asset: making the economic and social case to invest in healthcare


Chair: Paul Downward, Professor of Economics, Loughborough University

Andrew Bryce, Research Associate, University of Sheffield
Simona Rasciute, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Loughborough University
Alasdair Stewart, Research Associate, University of Glasgow
Padraig Dixon, Research Fellow, University of Bristol

Session summary
This session draws together insights from four ongoing studies funded under the Health Foundation’s Social and Economic Value of Health research programme. The overarching rationale of the session is to give insight into how health is not only shaped by social determinants, but how health can also act as an asset. Investing in health, therefore, has the potential to deliver wider economic and social returns on investment and to contribute to the wider flourishing of individuals.

Three themes will shape the discussion. First, we will focus on specific outcomes from health such as the impact of physical and mental health on sickness absence across different job types; and on the quality of personal relationships, feelings of financial security and social engagement. Second, we will explore the implications of health as an asset for health services – including examining how biomarkers and health behaviours can be used to understand health care costs. The relationships between health and social welfare policy will also be discussed to show how greater alignment of UK policies could potentially improve mental health and foster high quality employment. Lastly, we will explore the methodological challenges raised by the research, particularly in developing causal insights for policy. An important outcome of the session is to look to develop, through discussion, mechanisms and messaging for policy impact.