Growing wealth has resulted in greater spending on health, report argues

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 30 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f619
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

In 50 years’ time the United Kingdom could be spending 20% of its gross domestic product on the NHS, putting a relentless squeeze on other government spending, concludes a new analysis by John Appleby, chief economist at the health think tank the King’s Fund.1

At that level, spending on the NHS would account for half of all government revenue, and the service would employ one in eight of the working population, reducing the share spent outside the health and social care budgets from 80% in 2016 to 50% in 2061.

The prediction assumes that health spending rises as a proportion of GDP as rapidly as it has over the past 50 years, from 3.4% half a century ago to 8.2% today. Such a level of healthcare spending …

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