Steep capital spending rise still falls £1bn short of NHS ask

The government’s spending review indicates that the health service’s capital budget is to increase by almost a third on its pre-covid level, however it still lags behind previous calls to put healthcare spending in line with that of other advanced nations.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s capital budget is set to rise to £9.4bn in 2021-22, up 29% in real terms from the pre-covid level of £7bn in 2019-20.

The increase means the budget has moved significantly closer to the average spending on health-related capital projects by nations within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, but is still more than £1bn short.

Research by the Health Foundation has previously shown capital spending on healthcare services in the UK has been significantly lower than in most other developed nations. The DHSC’s annual capital budget in 2018-19, when the research was carried out, was around £6bn, and the think tank said this would need to rise to around £10bn to reach the OECD average.

Full story in HSJ, 25 November 2020