Specialised services “swallow up” increasing share of NHS budget

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 27 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2432
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. London

The financial watchdog could not say whether the commissioning of specialised services by NHS England was good value for money.

In a review of how NHS England commissioned the 146 specialised services provided in England—for example for kidney disease, specific mental health problems, and rare cancers—the National Audit Office found that the budget for these services in 2015-16 was £14.6bn, 14% of the total NHS budget.1

This year spending was set to increase by 7% to £15.6bn, double the rate of increase of the NHS budget as a whole.

Since NHS England took responsibility for commissioning specialist services in April 2013 the agency has not been able to stay within budget, …

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