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Professor Julia Fox-Rushby: Inaugural Lecture

Eastern Gateway theatre

Deciding how best to spend an annual budget of £4.7billion on public health is a hard task. Our aim is to improve such decisions and to help increase population health and wellbeing.

In 2005, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) began to provide guidance on how to prevent ill health and promote healthier lifestyles. The provision and use of economic evaluation in public health policy has since increased. In this lecture Prof Fox-Rushby shows how an economic evaluation of a screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm has helped changed policy, improve health and shift research.

The lecture uses economic evaluations from the last 10 years to show which public health interventions are ‘good buys’. Despite this evidence, funding for public health interventions has changed little and Prof Fox-Rushby will consider why. The processes, needs and focus of decision-making and research all raise challenges. In the future, economic evaluations need to consider broader points of view, re-consider the outcomes measured, and encourage improvement in the quality of effectiveness data. Evaluators, decision-makers and the public should collaborate more closely too.

The lecture draws on the Health Economics Research Group’s research on health technologies, public health, methods of measuring healthcare outcomes and the value of research itself.