UK ‘must spend more on healthcare’

7 Jun 18

Health expenditure in the UK is lagging behind its European neighbours and it must spend more, the National Health Service Confederation is warning.

According to a report commissioned by the organisation, in 2016 the UK spent 9.5% of national income on healthcare – both private and public – compared to 11.3% in Germany and 11% in France.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The choice we have to make is what sort of health and care system we are willing to pay for.

“The reality is that many other European countries, such as Germany and France, are already spending more than us on health.”

Today’s announcement comes as the confederation has launched a petition on Parliament’s website calling for a long-term funding plan for health and social care to the year 2035.

The report, which was launched on 23 May, said that if the UK spent the same proportion of its national income on health as Germany in the next year, an additional £30bn would be available for the health budget.

The UK also employs fewer doctors than all other European Union countries.

In 2015, the UK had 2.8 doctors per 1,000 people, compared to 4.1 doctors in Germany and 3.3 in France.

Dickson said: “Increasing funding through taxation in line with this report’s findings would still only take us to the lower-middle ranks of comparable European countries in terms of the amount of tax we pay.”

He added: “The evidence shows that we cannot go on running as we are. We face a choice between significant investment or a period of managed decline.”

The report, Securing the future: funding health and social care to the 2030s, was produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation charity.

It found that UK health spending will need to increase by £95bn by 2033/34, rising from 7.3% of national income this year to 8.9% – an increase of 3.3% per year.

Did you enjoy this article?