NHS and social care funding: the outlook to 2021/22

The majority of health care in the UK is funded by the taxpayer. Therefore the quantity and quality of health care provided are the result of rationing a fixed budget set by government funding constraints rather than the result of an interaction between demand and supply. The likely path of government funding for health care over the next decade is therefore a key concern for the health market especially given the current climate of austerity. After the unprecedented four-year period of broadly flat real-terms NHS spending ends in 2014/15, what can be expected? And what is the likely outlook for social care spending, for which the Commission on Funding of Care and Support (2011) recently proposed reforms to make more generous, and consequently more expensive? This report considers some scenarios for spending on the NHS and social care in England. It sets out what they might imply for other public service spending and taxation, and discusses how they could leave health spending relative to the current level seen in other countries.

This report is part of a larger programme of work being directed by the Nuffield Trust, which will also include a careful assessment of potential demands on the health care system over the same period (Nuffield Trust, 2012).

See the report at Nuffield Trust.