Health Help Now should have been a bot

Health Help Now is the NHS’s new website that helps people diagnose symptoms and select the appropriate service to get help, e.g. Pharmacy, GP, A & E.

Given that it uses simple logic to take the visitor through steps to reach a limited number of conclusions it could easily be a bot as well as/instead of a website. Then people could access the service using Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat, etc.

How many people will get help from the extra £1bn for Mental Services?

The main story in the news today is the extra £1bn a year that the NHS is to receive for Mental Health services by 2020.

A quick look at the numbers:

  • UK Population: 64,100,000
  • 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues: 16,025,000
  • A quarter of those receive treatment from the NHS: 4,006,250
  • The NHS spends £92bn a year on Mental Health.
  • That’s a spend £22,964,118 per person.
  • An additional £1bn spent will mean an additional 43,546 more people receive treatment (at the same spend per person).
  • That’s a total of 4,049,796 people receiving treatment each year.
  • And a total of 11,975,204 not receiving treatment each year.

This raises a few questions for me:

  • Is almost £23 million pounds per person per year the right amount to be spending on treatment? Is it really cost effective?
  • What about the almost twelve million people still not receiving an treatment?
  • If spending £92bn enables the NHS to treat 6.25% of the population, and the additional £1bn takes that up to 6.32%, then treating the entire 25% of the population that are affected by mental health issues would cost a total of £368bn a year.  Is £1bn really enough?