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Any foreseeable growth in NHS will “feel like a cut” because of demographics and cost inflation, report says

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4587 (Published 05 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4587
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The NHS in England faces a decade of austerity, and a squeeze on spending is likely to last at least until 2021-2, concludes a new analysis commissioned by the Nuffield Trust and carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.1

In spite of the relative protection given to health spending by the government, demographic changes and cost inflation mean that under almost any imaginable scenario the NHS budget will rise more slowly than the likely demand. The immediate challenge of making £15bn (€20bn; $24bn) to £20bn of savings in four years during this parliament—the tightest four year period of funding for the NHS in the past half century—will continue into the next four years.

“If NHS productivity does not increase sufficiently fast to bridge the gap between funding and demand pressures, then access to and quality of care is likely to deteriorate,” the report says. “Serious thought must …

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