British Journal of Healthcare Management, Vol. 18, Iss. 7, 09 Jul 2012, pp 374 - 381
Rising health and social care costs toward the end of life represent an area of high financial risk. A study of the year-to-year volatility in deaths at local authority level across the whole of the UK shows that this volatility is highly location-specific. Some locations will experience higher volatility in end of life costs. Other types of healthcare costs also exhibit high spatio-temporal granularity. Across the UK, two events in 2002 and 2007 led to increases in deaths which were as high as that observed in major influenza epidemics seen in the 1980s and 1990s, yet without the presence of unusual levels of influenza. These dates correspond to step-like increases in emergency admissions, A&E attendances and GP referrals. Potential reasons are discussed.