Intended for healthcare professionals


Future NHS funding

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 20 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2736
  1. John Appleby, chief economist
  1. 1King’s Fund, London W1G 0AN
  1. j.appleby{at}

    A threat or an opportunity?

    NHS funding is, as the management jargon has it, if not a burning platform then close to smouldering and getting hotter. After nearly a decade of unprecedented growth in healthcare spending in the United Kingdom, the future, after 2011, looks to be seriously tight. Quite how hard the financial screws on the NHS are turned will depend on the future course of the recession, the nature and timing of economic recovery, and of course policy choices made by government.

    On the last point, both main political parties have indicated that health will receive a real rise in funding in the next three year spending review period from 2011.1 2 But neither give a suggestion as to how much, nor, in any detail, the opportunity costs for borrowing, taxes, or other public spending. As an analysis from a joint report from the King’s Fund and the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows, even a small real increase for the NHS will have a big effect on other spending departments, borrowing, or taxation.3

    Assuming that medium term NHS funding will not …

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