Intended for healthcare professionals


Another healthcare funding review

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 10 February 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:312

More of the same

  1. Jennifer Dixon (, director, health care policy programme.
  1. (,.uk)King's Fund, London W1G 0AN

    Survey 100 doctors, nurses, or members of the public at random and ask them about the NHS and most would probably put “thronic underinvestment” at the top of the list of ills. The evidence is plain—shabby hospitals, waiting lists, lack of equipment, and difficulty retaining staff. It has been ever thus. Because the NHS is largely funded through central taxation and because there is no objective way of deciding the right level of funding for the NHS “Seeds”1 the decision is a political judgment and therefore ripe for constant attack. It is also ripe for a constant search for better methods of financing health care. This week a group of medical, nursing, patient, and private sector organisations published the latest in a long line of inquiries into healthcare funding.2

    For the past 20 years real growth in NHS spending has averaged about 3% a year, though the growth curve has been more like a roller coaster ride than a steady ascent.3 Last year the government pledged £19.4bn ($29.1bn) over four years—roughly double the average in real terms, sustained for four years. While welcome, this still leaves us short …

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