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NHS will face a funding crisis next year because of flat funds and rising costs

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c6101 (Published 28 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6101
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The NHS will face a funding crisis by November 2011 unless it acts swiftly, a leading health policy expert has warned.

Nick Bosanquet of Imperial College, London, told a seminar on 27 October that “a gathering storm” of events could find trusts without funds this time next year. The flat funding settlement announced by the chancellor would combine with rising costs—such as bills for private finance initiative hospitals coming through, rising patient demand, and the costs of creating new posts as the numbers of new medical graduates rise—to provoke a crisis.

Similar events had happened before, he said, when periods of rising funding came to an abrupt end, citing 1950-51, 1966-67, 1976-77 and 1987-88. “If the NHS were a very flexible system, it would be OK,” he said. “But the NHS is not very flexible.”

Although previous funding crises had been managed by cutting capital spending, this time round he advised trust chief executives to be realistic about funding, to cut costs …

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