NHS funding is falling behind European neighbours’ average, research finds

Britain’s spending on its health service is falling by international standards and, by 2020, will be £43bn less a year than the average spent by its European neighbours, according to research by the King’s Fund.

The UK is devoting a diminishing proportion of GDP in health and is now a lowly 13th out of the original 15 EU members in terms of investment, an analysis for the Guardian by the thinktank’s chief economist shows.

Prof John Appleby also found that the government’s decision to increase the NHS’s budget by far less than the anticipated growth in GDP meant the service would miss out on what would have been an extra £16bn by 2020.

Ministers highlight that they are giving the NHS in England an increasing share of overall government spending, ringfencing its budget and handing it annual increases totalling £8.4bn in real terms by 2020-21, despite very tight public finances.

But the King’s Fund figures have cast doubt on ministers’ repeated claims that they are giving the NHS generous cash settlements. Critics argue that Britain is becoming “the sick person of Europe” in terms of health spending because the sector receives one of the lowest levels of investment compared with many European countries, such as France and Germany.

Full story in The Guardian 20 January 2016