This site is intended for health professionals only

No political party has promised enough cash to NHS, think-tank warns


22 May 2017

Share this story:
Twitter
LinkedIn

None of the major political parties have pledged to spend enough money on the NHS to close the funding gap, a think-tank analysis has found.

In a report by think-tank the Nuffield Trust, researchers laid out four ways the NHS deficit could be closed and how much it would cost to do so, alongside the three party’s promises for funding.

The analysis notes that under each of the manifestos health spending as a proportion of GDP is set to fall, despite promises from each to increase NHS funding to the financial year 2022/23.

None of the major political parties have pledged to spend enough money on the NHS to close the funding gap, a think-tank analysis has found.

In a report by think-tank the Nuffield Trust, researchers laid out four ways the NHS deficit could be closed and how much it would cost to do so, alongside the three party’s promises for funding.

The analysis notes that under each of the manifestos health spending as a proportion of GDP is set to fall, despite promises from each to increase NHS funding to the financial year 2022/23.

In March, the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS called to increase spending ‘at least in line with growth of GDP’

To keep pace with the country’s economic growth of 2% each year between now and 2022/23 the report says spending on the NHS should total £137bn by the end of the next Parliament.

However the Conservative Party has pledged to bring the total NHS spend up to  £131.7bn by 2022/23, while the Labour Party has promised £135.3bn by 2022/23 and the Liberal Democrats £132.2bn.

Under the previous Government’s plans, funding was due to reach £126bn by May 2020 – an increase from its current £124bn – representing an average funding increase of only 0.75% annually.

The report laid out three other measures by which to identify how much money the NHS will need in 2022/23.

The second measure sees funding keeping pace with NHS inflation and predicted demand for care, and a removal of the cap on staff pay, offset by some increased productivity, which would require NHS spending to rise to £141bn in 2022/23.

The third measure looks at funding increases returning to 4% per year, which was the average increase in funding between the 1950s and 2009, which would see spending increase to £150bn in 2022/23.

The last method of forecasting NHS spending follows the model built by the Office for Budget Responsibility, which found that cost and patient demand will increase by 4% each year until 2032.

Researchers at the Nuffield Trust found that meeting this level of demand will require spending £155bn on the NHS by 2022/23.

Nuffield Trust senior policy analyst Sally Gainsbury said the future of the NHS ‘always involves a cost of some sort’.

She said: ‘We can choose to put more money into the health service, whether that is raised through higher taxes, more borrowing or changing other government spending priorities. 

‘But equally, not spending more also implies a cost, in terms of longer waits and deteriorating quality of care for patients, and failing to keep up with the latest drugs and medical treatments that may become available in other countries.’ 

Twitter
LinkedIn