Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Data Briefing

What’s happening to NHS spending across the UK?

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 24 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2982
  1. John Appleby, chief economist
  1. 1King’s Fund, London, UK
  1. j.appleby{at}

England has traditionally lost out in the per capita health spend across all UK countries, but John Appleby finds it is faring better in the current economic climate

In much of the discussion and debate about healthcare spending and reform, the “N” in NHS seems often to stand for England. And yet, of course, around 10 million people in the UK (equivalent to the population of Portugal or Greece) do not live in England or (generally) use its healthcare services. For those of us who do live in England and consume English based media, not noting the existence of such English bias may itself be an example of English bias (or plain ignorance).

Apart from confusing England for the UK, there is also a problem with treating the UK as the UK. …

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