The announcement of a 3.4% annual funding increase, over the next five years, represents a significant and politically astute compromise development, in advance of the NHS’s 70th birthday. Wise heads in the Treasury wanted to limit annual NHS budget increases at around 2%, while health leaders made plausible demands for 4% per year. The NHS budget by 2023 will be around £20 billion per year higher than now.
Anticipated year-by-year funding increases in real terms:
- In 2019-20 – 3.6%.
- In 2020-21 – 3.6%.
- In 2021-22 – 3.1%.
- In 2022-23 – 3.1%.
- In 2023-24 – 3.4%.
The last five-year settlement, announced in 2015, increased the NHS England budget by around £8.4 billion; this too was applauded as a wonderful opportunity for the NHS at the time.
Triggle, N. (2018). NHS gets £20bn ‘birthday present’. London: BBC Health News, June 17th 2018.
“The announcement means extra money will also be made available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although it will be up to the Welsh and Scottish governments to decide how that is spent”.
The official Government funding programme announcement:
Prime Minister sets out 5-year NHS funding plan: the NHS will receive increased funding of £20.5 billion per year by the end of 5 years. London: Department of Health and Social Care, HM Treasury [and] Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, June 18th 2018.
This relates to:
NHS funding. [Details of NHS Government funding programme – NHS settlement numbers. Unbadged document]. London: Department of Health and Social Care [and] HM Treasury, June 18th 2018.
A Ten Year Plan?
The Prime Minister is emphatic that the money must be used to improve tangible patient care, rather than being misappropriated by potentially wasteful practices (unacceptable variations in procurement, productivity etc.) or sunk in further bureaucracy:
Edwards, N. (2018). How to spend it: what to do with new NHS money. [Online]: Nuffield Trust, June 14th 2018.
Further BBC News analysis:
Triggle, N. (2018). NHS funding: PM calls for 10-year plan to spend cash [re-titled later, as Tax rise need to help pay for £20bn NHS boost, says PM]. London: BBC Health News, June 18th 2018.
Arrangements for social care are “the big unknown” as yet:
Pym, H. (2018). NHS plan: What we still need to know. London: BBC Health News, June 18th 2018.
More on the political dimension:
Kuenssberg, L. (2018). ‘No magic money tree’. London: BBC Politics News / BBC Health News, June 18th 2018.
More on the economic dimension:
Ahmed, K. (2018). The NHS, taxes and that ‘Brexit dividend’. London: BBC Business News / BBC Health News, June 18th 2018.
Earlier Contributions: Likely Drivers Behind the Eventual Settlement
The Lord Darzi Review of Health and Care: interim report. London: Institute for Public Policy Research, April 2018.
Joint letter to the Prime Minister on NHS funding: a joint letter sent from the Nuffield Trust, The King’s Fund and The Health Foundation outlining our perspectives ahead of further announcements expected on NHS funding. London: King’s Fund / Health Foundation / Nuffield Trust, June 4th 2018.