Feature Data Briefing

Health spending: is there another way to plan?

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j3299 (Published 14 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3299
  1. John Appleby, director of research and chief economist, Nuffield Trust, London, UK
  1. john.appleby{at}nuffieldtrust.org.uk

John Appleby looks at what an independent body might say about NHS funding

In the run up to the June general election there was the usual (unsolicited) advice from interest groups to the main parties on what they might like to do once in government. One suggestion made by several people was the need for an independent group to periodically make recommendations about future levels of health (and possibly social) care spending.12 In the manner of headlines, this got abbreviated to an “OBR for health.” But what does it mean? And why would such an exercise be worthwhile?

In some ways an OBR for health already exists—it’s called, well, the OBR (the Office for Budgetary Responsibility). Set up by George Osborne in 2010, it provides “independent and authoritative analysis of the UK’s public finances.”3 Part of its job is to …

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