The chart below from our Healthy Finances report shows why we’re having [a] row [about NHS funding]. If the government doesn’t announce quite a bit more cash for the NHS, average annual spending growth is on course to be lower this decade than at any other time in the NHS’s history. Real terms per capita spending is set to grow by an average of just 0.4 per cent a year between 2010-11 and 2019-20, down from an average of 5.9 per cent a year in the preceding decade.
As the chart makes clear, that’s the lowest spending increase since the 50s. No wonder the NHS is in crisis. And no wonder some of us say that’s entirely by choice.
The desired spending increase is well above economic growth or any likely level of economic growth. Thus the desired level of spending increases must, ineluctably, mean that the NHS swallow an ever greater portion of the economy. At which point does this stop?
Alternatively, what’s the problem with trying to make the NHS more efficient rather than just increasing the level of inputs?