Feature Data Briefing

What are we spending on the English NHS?

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6287 (Published 22 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6287
  1. John Appleby, chief economist
  1. 1King’s Fund, London, UK
  1. j.appleby{at}kingsfund.org.uk

John Appleby unravels the arguments about government claims that the NHS in England has seen increased funding

The chief executive of the English NHS, David Nicholson, recently called for politicians to be “completely transparent about the consequences of the financial settlements” for the NHS.1 His point was that, although politicians say the NHS has been protected financially, this was only relative to real cuts in other areas of government and, crucially, not in terms of the demands on healthcare.

The NHS is not alone. Across many countries in the Organisation for Economic Development spending on healthcare has slowed dramatically in the past few years as governments adjusted public spending in the wake of the global financial crisis and ensuing recessions.2 Some countries have experienced real falls in spending; others have seen a slowdown in growth. Across the four UK territories spending decisions have varied too. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies has recently noted, health spending in Wales will fall by 8.6% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2013-14. …

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