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Home Publications Securing the future: funding health and social care to the 2030s - summary

Securing the future: funding health and social care to the 2030s - summary

Paul Johnson, Elaine Kelly, Tom Lee, George Stoye, Ben Zaranko, Anita Charlesworth, Zoe Firth, Ben Gershlick and Toby Watt
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On 5 July this year the NHS will be 70. In all its 70 years it has rarely been far from the headlines. It has been through more than its fair share of reforms, crises and funding ups and downs. Over that period, the amount we spend on it has risen inexorably. Yet, today, concerns about the adequacy of funding are once again hitting the headlines, as the health and social care systems struggle to cope with growing demand.

Looking forward, funding pressures are only going to grow. The population is getting bigger and older, and expectations are rising along with the costs of meeting them. Our analysis suggests that UK spending on healthcare will have to rise by an average 3.3% a year over the next 15 years just to maintain NHS provision at current levels, and by at least 4% a year if services are to be improved. Social care funding will need to increase by 3.9% a year to meet the needs of an ageing population and an increasing number of younger adults living with disabilities. If the widely acknowledged problems with England’s social care system – of limited eligibility, low quality and the perceived unfairness of the current, uncapped, means test – did result in reform, spending on social care would need to increase at a faster rate.

If we are to have a health and care system that meets the expectations of the population, we need to understand how and why spending has risen over time, where the money is spent, how costs are likely to develop in the future, and how we might go about meeting those costs. That is the purpose behind this collaboration between the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation, in association with the NHS Confederation.

Infographic_Why does the NHS need more funding over the next 15 years 

How would you fund the NHS? Use this tool to try and reach these projected funding “targets” through increasing taxes and / or by cutting government spending in other areas.

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Press release
With the older population growing rapidly, along with the numbers suffering chronic health problems, and a growing pay and drugs bill, demands on the health service will only continue to grow. Just to keep the NHS providing the level of service it does today will require us to increase spending by ...
Newspaper article
Over the past 50 years we’ve pulled off a pretty remarkable trick. We have spent an ever growing fraction of our national income on the welfare state in general, and on health in particular, without apparently having to pay for it. The tax burden, at about 34 per cent of GDP, is not substantially ...
Newspaper article
In new work with the Health Foundation, we estimate that it would require an average growth in health spending of 3.3 per cent for the next 15 years just to keep the NHS providing the level of service it does today — with a slightly bigger increase to address immediate funding requirements.