Research summary & report
3 Dec 2012

This research highlights the funding challenges facing the NHS and social care system in England over the next decade, with NHS funding growth likely to be restricted beyond 2015.


Adam Roberts, Nuffield Trust, outlines the main funding pressures facing the NHS from 2010/2011 to 2021/2022

Spending on the UK NHS as a share of national income has more than doubled since its introduction in 1948, rising by an average of four per cent a year in real terms. This period of rapid growth has now come to a halt, but funding pressures on the NHS continue to rise.

The research report and summary: A decade of austerity? The funding pressures facing the NHS from 2010/11 to 2021/22, aims to quantify the pressures facing the NHS in England over the next decade.

The analysis focuses on the portion of the total NHS budget in England that is currently spent by primary care trusts (PCTs) on commissioning services for the population of England, which makes up around 80 per cent of the total budget for the NHS in England.

Without sustained and unprecedented increases in health service productivity, funding for the NHS in England will need to increase in real terms between 2015 and 2022 to avoid reductions in the level or quality of services. However, this funding increase is looking increasingly unlikely Adam Roberts, Research Analyst, Nuffield Trust, and report co-author

The report examines options for achieving the current ‘QIPP challenge’ of £20 billion in productivity savings by 2014/15, and explores three possible funding scenarios for 2015/16 to 2021/22, drawing on a report commissioned by the Nuffield Trust from the Institute for Fiscal Studies: NHS and social care funding: the outlook to 2021/22 (July 2012).

The report also examines funding pressures on social care services, based on findings from a report commissioned by the Nuffield Trust from the London School of Economics: Care for older people: projected expenditure to 2022 on social care and continuing health care for England’s older population (December 2012).

This research forms part of a wider Nuffield Trust programme, Buying time: what is the scale of the financial challenge facing the NHS and how can it be met?

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