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Last government gave NHS smallest funding increase “since WWII”

21 October 2015

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The last government gave the smallest increase in NHS spending for any political party’s period in office since the Second World War, an economic health expert revealed.

John Appleby, chief economist for health policy at The King’s Fund, said that the decade since the 2010 Spending Review “will be the toughest financially since the inception of the NHS”.

The health chief’s analysis showed that over the past parliament the annual average real increase in UK NHS spending was 0.84%. Moreover, this amounts to around a quarter of the long-run average increase in funding since 1951, he revealed on his blog.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 yesterday, he commented: “We’re merely making the point that this is undeniably the longest reduction in the share of the growing cake if you like, the GDP, that we’ve seen since 1950.

“There have been periods where the share of GDP devoted to the NHS has gone down, but not as much and not over such a sustained period.”

Even though “Britain is now one of the fastest growing major economies in the world,” as the Conservative manifesto states, this has not led to an increase in NHS spending. Appleby revealed that “even as the ‘cake’ is growing, we will devote a smaller slice of it to health care.”

Consequently, the nearly £1 billion overspend that NHS providers had within the first quarter of 2015 was due to the fact that increases in spending are increasingly falling behind increases in demand and costs, rather than a lack of reform or reluctance to reduce waste and improve productivity, Appleby concluded.