A new study by the Office of Health Economics commissioned by the Vegan Society has shown that switching to a vegan diet could save £6.7 billion per year for the National Health Service (NHS) in England.

The study, titled “The impact of higher uptake of plant-based diets in England: model-based estimates of health care resource use and health-related quality of life” suggests that plant-based diets may improve health outcomes relating to diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. According to the authors, if everybody in England ate a plant-based diet, there would be 2.1 million fewer cases of disease and a gain of more than 170,000 quality-adjusted life years across the population. Additionally, there would be funds saved to cover the full yearly budget of up to seven of England’s hospitals or to cover the annual salaries of 64,990 consultants or 184,920 nurses.

Author Dr Chris Sampson said, “There is now compelling evidence that plant-based diets can benefit people’s health. Our analysis takes a significant step towards understanding how dietary choices impact population health and NHS expenditure overall. For every million people making the switch to a vegan diet the anticipated reduction in illness could save the NHS a staggering £121 million.”

Claire Ogley, the Head of Campaigns, Policy and Research for the Vegan Society, said to Vegan Food and Living, “It’s encouraging to see increasing evidence that plant-based diets can be not only beneficial to individual health but could also benefit the NHS on a bigger scale. As the report illustrates, wider uptake of plant-based diets could free up billions of pounds of funding to invest back into England’s hospitals and services. Policymakers should consider supporting and encouraging plant-based diets as part of public health campaigns to realise these benefits to the health service in the UK.”

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.