Big choices ahead for health and care spending
24 May 2018
- Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Health Foundation publish a report on future funding for health and care spending.
- The report concludes that taxes would certainly need to rise to meet NHS demand pressures. It argues health and care spending would rise by 2–3% of national income over the next 15 years.
- We say report confirms that there are big choices to make about how much the NHS needs versus how much we can afford
The Health Foundation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have published their report on the future of health and care spending. The report was commissioned by the NHS Confederation in line with the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
The report argues that health and social care spending is likely to have to rise by 2–3% of national income over the next 15 years.
It argues that for the NHS just to keep providing the level of services it currently does would require a spending increase by an average 3.3% a year for the next 15 years – with slightly bigger increases in the short run to address immediate funding problems.
To fund improvement, increases of nearer 4% a year would be required over the medium term, with 5% annual increases in the short run.
The report argues that to meet these future pressures and meet government commitments on performance, taxes would certainly have to rise.
Responding to the report on future health and care spending from the Health Foundation, IFS and NHS Confederation, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:
“We welcome the government’s commitment to increase NHS funding and the fact that we are now starting to have the national debate we have long called for on what kind of NHS we want in future and how we pay for it.
We welcome the fact that we are now starting to have the national debate we have long called for on what kind of NHS we want in future and how we pay for it.
“This report confirms there are some big choices to make – how much the NHS needs versus how much we can afford; how any increases in NHS funding should be paid for; and how we support a social care system now in crisis.
“As we continue to have separate health and care services we must invest in both, not least to speed up the process of joining them together”.
“The NHS trusts who look after a million patients every 36 hours are clear about two things.
There will need to be substantial increased spending to fill in the gaps that have emerged, for example on buildings and infrastructure, and to recover lost ground on waiting times.
“First, after eight years of the longest and deepest financial squeeze in NHS history, there will need to be substantial increased spending to fill in the gaps that have emerged, for example on buildings and infrastructure, and to recover lost ground on waiting times. Only then can we look to develop and extend the ambitions of a service which is currently very overstretched.
“Second, trusts want to improve standards of care as part of what we hope will be an exciting vision of the NHS for the future, but that vision must be rooted in reality. We must not repeat past mistakes of creating national plans with unrealistic expectations that cannot be delivered.”