Education And Debate

Funding the NHS: A little local difficulty?

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 18 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:216
  1. Jennifer Dixon, fellow in policy analysisa,
  2. Anthony Harrison, fellow in policy analysisa
  1. a Policy Institute King's Fund London W1M 0AN


    The media have been full of reports of crisis in the NHS. Although national analyses suggest that the NHS should be able to cope within the increases in spending it has been given, local pressures can leave parts of the service struggling. Firstly, the change to allocation of funds on the basis of population needs has meant that some authorities and trusts have had effective cuts in their budgets, requiring them to trim services. Secondly, the government's insistence on an annual 3% increase in efficiency may have resulted in authorities taking short term measures that actually decrease efficiency in the long term. Thirdly, health authorities have had to bear the costs of national targets such as reducing waiting lists and junior doctors' hours as well as local problems such as higher numbers of mentally disordered offenders. However, all these factors can be controlled by national or local management and so their impact is not inevitable.

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