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Tuesday 18th June 2019

10 years' budget pain for the NHS

6th July 2012

A report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies has warned that the NHS in England could face a decade of austerity.

In analysis of the long-term financial future of the health service, funded by the Nuffield Trust, the IFS say the NHS should be prepared to face even tougher times ahead than it has already experienced.

Within that, it said a serious consideration should be whether all services continue to be free at the point of use.

The document, entitled NHS and social care funding: the outlook to 2021/22, also looks at how the financial constraints on the NHS in future will impact on other public services as well as taxation.

It warned: “Because spending on the English NHS is so big - accounting for 23% of public service spending in 2010/11 - decisions on English NHS funding matter a great deal for all other areas of public service spending.

“Continuing the real freeze in English NHS spending over 2015/16 and 2016/17 would mean cutting spending on other public services by an average 2.3% a year.”

IFS deputy director Carl Emmerson serious consideration should be given to the options for the NHS, which included "reviewing the range of services available free at the point of use and reconsidering the level of taxation needed to finance them".

NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar highlighted the need to "forensically examine what services and treatments provide the best outcomes for patients and local communities, and what the NHS can and cannot afford to provide in the future".


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