NHS spending should focus on mental rather than physical health to promote wellbeing

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 22 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7914
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Health budgets should be reallocated to focus on mental rather than physical health if the United Kingdom is serious about enhancing wellbeing, the former head of the Civil Service has said.

Lord O’Donnell, now retired as cabinet secretary and currently chair of a new government initiative to promote the measurement and use of wellbeing measurements, said that the work done by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and similar bodies abroad “clearly shows” that a greater emphasis on mental health is justified.

Lord Layard, an economist from the London School of Economics who has pioneered the economic studies of happiness, agreed. Emotional health correlated more strongly with an individual’s perception of wellbeing at the age of 34 than …

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