The NHS Confederation commissioned the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation to undertake a study into the funding needs of the UK's health and care systems over the next 15 years. Securing the future: funding health and social care to the 2030s is the first report from the study.
It concludes that cost pressures on the NHS are set to grow and that a long-term funding solution is needed, likely through tax increases.
Key findings include:
- Just to maintain current service levels, UK health spending will need to increase by £95bn by 2033/34, rising from 7.3 per cent of national income this year to 8.9 per cent of national income – increases of 3.3 per cent a year.
- But if the government wishes to improve NHS services, including meeting waiting times targets and addressing under-provision in mental health services, increases of approximately 4 per cent a year will be needed.
- Some catch-up money will be needed over the next five years to maintain services and address the backlog of funding problems. This will require funding to grow by 5 per cent a year, before falling back to levels closer to the historic trend of 3.7 per cent.
- Meeting these pressures will almost certainly require tax increases, as cuts in spending on other services are unsustainable following eight years of austerity.