So the UK has yet another new chancellor - Jeremy Hunt - thanks to Liz Truss' latest enforced u-turn.

Unfortunately the Conservative party continues to apparently be playing a game of randomly selecting economic strategies from a bag of policies totally unsuitable for the current economic situation, as we’re likely heading back into a time of deliberate austerity.

It should not be forgotten that not only do unfathomable cuts to public services cause misery for the population - think for example of the 7 million people currently on waitlists for hospital treatment - they also kill us.

Austerity policies naturally affect a lot more than healthcare expenditure, but it’s perhaps there that their deadly effects can most clearly be estimated.

Last year researchers did their best to quantify the causal impact of constraining expenditure on social care, public health and healthcare in the period of austerity between 2010/2011–2014/2015. Their mean estimate was that the decrease in expenditure when compared with the trend for the 8 years before led to an extra 57.550 deaths (albeit with a wide confidence interval - 3,075-111,195).

In modelling this, they concluded that an 1% increase in:

  • healthcare expenditure reduces mortality by 0.532%;
  • social care expenditure reduces mortality by 0.336%;
  • local public health spending reduces mortality by 0.019%

A different paper from 5 years ago also attempted to look at the impact of us constraining healthcare and social care expenditure during 2011-2014. That group estimated an extra 45,368 people died (95% CI 34,530-56,206) compared to trends before 2010. They suggest that investment in care homes and nurses are two important factors that could mitigate this.