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Aneurin Bevin, founder of the National Health Service, was clear that there would always be a greater demand for services than could be met by available resources. This continual need to try to balance demand and supply – however done – is one of the key components in developing sustainable healthcare services.

Again, there are two main components. Firstly, there is the need to seek to achieve a balance between services that prevent illness and ill health and those that treat sickness. Secondly, there is the need to make best use of the available resources – whether people, equipment or finances – so that there is efficiency in the health care delivery system.

These two themes are illustrated in the following sections.