Former NHS chiefs call for increased taxation to prop up the ailing health service

‘Since the financial crash, the NHS has had little or no growth. There isn’t a healthcare system in the developed world that can cope with that in the long-term’

Ministers must increase taxes to raise new cash for the NHS, a former chief executive of the health service in England has said, warning that no developed country would be able to cope with the spending squeeze inflicted on the health since the financial crisis of 2008.

Sir David Nicholson, who served as head of NHS England until 2014, said that last week’s record NHS hospital deficit figures were a symptom of the “serious problem” of NHS under-funding. His call for a boost for NHS spending via the taxation system was echoed by a senior NHS official, who said the only alternative to increasing taxes or national insurance contributions would be deeply unpopular new charges for NHS care.

NHS hospitals, ambulance, community and mental health services in England reported a total overspend of £2.5bn in 2015/16 – the biggest ever recorded for the sector. In the past, deficits have been blamed on hospitals’ poor financial management, but a growing chorus of voices are now blaming systemic under-funding of the health service, with nine in 10 hospitals overspending their budgets to cope with rising patient demand.

Full story in The Independent 21 May 2016