View more on these topics

An agenda for health

Head of sales and marketing, Standard Life Healthcare

There is not one person working anywhere in the financial services industry who is unaffected by the Budget announcements regarding Nat-ional Insurance increases and healthcare funding.

At a commercial level, it is impossible to carry out full financial planning without at least a nod in the direction of healthcare planning – whether it is planning for funding future healthcare or taking steps to make sure that poor health does not undo the best of past financial planning.

But it is more than simply a commercial issue. Every person reading this is also a patient, a parent, a guardian or carer – and, of course, a funder – of the nation&#39s health services.

Getting healthcare right is, as the Chancellor knows,at least partly about funding it properly – and that must mean taking a broader view than simply funding it through taxation.

Derek Wanless&#39s report to Gordon Brown attempts to predict requirements in healthcare and funding needs to create a vision of the health service in 20 years time.

But there are many variables involved – the impact of genetics, the ageing population, people&#39s willingness to pay more tax and what level of economic growth we achieve.

If we take any 20-year slice of recent history it would be difficult to imagine that we could project ahead from the beginning of the first decade to the end of the second with any sort of accuracy.

Governments of every political persuasion are not known for taking a view much beyond the lifetime of one, or maybe two, Parliaments. So a commitment of this type would require a unique change in political attitudes.

Wanless rightly points out that estimates such as this are subject to a large degree of uncertainty and he says that new knowledge and research will evolve.

The report acknowledges that Standard Life Healthcare pointed out in its submission to the inquiry that the importance of assessing, setting and then meeting consumer expectations cannot be emphasised enough.

In simple terms we have got to find a way to give people the health service they want. Standard Life Healthcare believes that will be best achieved through a mixture of taxation and private provision and will continue to champion the consumer in this way.

We still have not got long-term and social care right as a nation. Wanless recognises that a review of healthcare would not be complete without considering the link between health and social care.

These are important health issues that have impacted on savings and investments in recent years as the baby boomers get older and look to the health service for the free cradle-to-the-grave service once promised.

This year&#39s Budget, more than any before, has created a strong link between the broader financial services industry and healthcare in general – PMI in particular.

Many commentators argue that Wanless&#39s decision not to support alternative forms of funding healthcare, backed up by the Chancellor&#39s plans, means that the PMI industry will not see any incentives for people to take out PMI or the removal of disincentives from those who do.

But people are, in effect, voting with their feet when it comes to a mixed healthcare system. People understand the reality of healthcare funding, they are exploring newer self-pay savings and insurance-based healthcare products. They are telling pollsters that they do not see tax increases as the panacea to the NHS&#39s ills that have so far polarised the debate between state and private provision.

The PMI industry and the broader financial services industry now has a chance to advance the debate as healthcare funding continues to become a personal financial issue for all of us, just as it has become one of the country&#39s major financial issues for the next two decades and beyond.

In the meantime, the consumer will continue to set the agenda for change and it is up to us to make the products available that they clearly want as part of a new age for healthcare funding and provision.


UCB adjusts self-cert loans

UCB Home Loans has announced changes to its range of self-cert range mortgages replacing its discounted rates with tracker rates and adjusting fixed rates.The specialist lender says from this week, it is introducing a two year tracker product, a three year tracker and a three year buy-or-let tracker. They will replace the existing discounted rate […]

Norwich Union bond fund expands range

Norwich Union is expanding its retail fund range with the managed high income fund, an Oeic that invests mainly in corporate bonds.This Oeic is designed to produce a high level of income through a portfolio of fixed interest securities, including corporate bonds, from around the world. It has a target yield of 7.35 per cent […]

FSA, Treasury and Bank of England launch joint website

The FSA, Bank of England and Treasury have launched a joint website providing information on continuity in financial services in the event of an industry wide or local emergency. The three authorities have been working together with other public and private sector bodies to help co-ordinate business continuity within the sector. The FSA says September […]

Old Mutual fund moves sector

The Old Mutual Hallmark Growth Portfolio fund, previously known as the OM Gerrard Hallmark Growth Portfolio fund, is moving from the balanced managed to active managed sector to allow more investment in equities. The balanced managed sector only allows a maximum of 85 per cent equity exposure. The Gerrard Hallmark Growth and Gerrard Hallmark Income […]

The Natixis Solution: H2O MultiReturns Fund

A product designed to bring some unique attributes to the crowded absolute return global macro space With diversification and risk management top of investors’ wish lists when it comes to alternatives, step forward the H2O MultiReturns Fund. H2O Asset Management is an independent boutique backed by Natixis Global Asset Management and has a 14-year track […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers. Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and thought leadership.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm