1. Are the wheels finally coming off the NHS' finances?

    20 Mar 2014
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    While this week’s Budget contained no new announcements on health spending, it shone a harsh light on just how tough the financial challenge is proving for the English NHS.

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  2. The big freeze: is the NHS pay deal fair?

    19 Mar 2014
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    Today’s Budget contained no new announcements when it comes to health and social care. While the continuation of austerity beyond the next election will almost certainly mean more tough decisions on public spending in the next spending review, today was all about warming up to electorate for the election with eye-catching policies on tax and pensions.

    The big news as far as the NHS is concerned had already been announced: last week the Government set out its decision on NHS pay over the next two years.

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  3. Act now or repent at leisure

    27 Jun 2013
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    The Chancellor announced the outcome of the 2013 Spending Review yesterday. He confirmed that the NHS has been spared the full force of Government cuts for another year. The health budget is rising in headline terms by just 0.1 per cent after inflation. As expected, part of the health budget is earmarked to be transferred to social care.

    This continues the precedent established in the 2010 Spending Review which set aside money each year for...

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  4. The NHS in numbers: performance in the boom years

    17 Apr 2013
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    Our new series of interactive charts: The NHS in numbers pulls together some key data on health care spending, activity, resources and performance. These charts broadly cover the boom years for health care in the UK, from the late 1990s to the early 2010s, reflecting the latest data publicly available from official sources.

    During this period, when Government spending on the NHS rose at the fastest rate experienced throughout its history, both public and private spending on health care increased year-...

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  5. The lost decade

    27 Mar 2013
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    The Budget 2013 confirms that funding for health in England will be frozen in real terms for a further year – up to 2015-16 – and the requirement to under-spend allocations is here to stay. The Government has also extended the one per cent cap on pay awards for a further year and is talking about limiting pay progression.

    This is hard for NHS workers but will be a big help to NHS organisations trying to match the money with the pressures on services.

    After 2015-16 the Office for Budget Responsibility’s...

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  6. New Year, new 'to do' list

    17 Jan 2013
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    There is nothing like the New Year for compiling a 'to do' list, and nothing more satisfying than to start the list with some things you already have under way, so that you can tick a few off immediately. Last week the coalition Government gave us their version in the form of the Mid-Term Review.

    The NHS chapter pulls together a series of previously announced service initiatives (e.g. rolling out telehealth and telecare, implementing a 'friends and family test'); details of their performance meeting targets and initiatives put...

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  7. The Chancellor's Autumn Statement: austerity could get worse for the NHS

    13 Dec 2012
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    One thing is clear from the Autumn Statement, the NHS needs to plan for a much longer period of austerity – it’s at least seven years and it could well be a decade.

    The Chancellor has reopened the current Spending Review and taken a further £6.6 billion of public spending to fund an infrastructure investment programme with the aim of supporting economic growth.

    The Autumn Statement certainly confirms that we need economic growth. The Office of Budget...

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  8. NHS budget surpluses: the law of unintended consequences

    5 Nov 2012
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    The NHS is 18 months into the toughest financial settlement it has ever experienced.

    Unsurprisingly, Monitor’s quarter one report shows 25 per cent of foundation trusts in deficit in the first quarter of 2012-13 and 20 NHS trusts are considered financially unviable in their current configuration; and last week the Special Administrator for South London Healthcare NHS Trust published his ...

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  9. Securing future NHS funding: is a productivity boost enough?

    (Guest blogger)
    4 Jul 2012
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    Most developed countries have problems with the percentage of their gross domestic product (GDP) spent on health, so our problems are not unique.

    The theory goes that in order to meet the challenge of future health care demand due to changing demography, lifestyle and new technology innovation, resources must shift into more community, home-based and self-service provision.

    There appears to be consensus at the policy level that it is in the interest of patients and service users that a more integrated approach should be developed. Underpinning this is an assumption that...

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  10. Funding social care: a reflection on the Dilnot Commission

    29 May 2012
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    The Government spends some £140 billion a year on services for older people. The bulk of this pays for pensions and other welfare benefits, and NHS care. Just six per cent goes towards meeting the social care needs of older people.

    If you were starting with a blank sheet of paper, would this look like the best balance of spending to ensure quality of life, dignity and respect in older age? Is spending so little on social care relative to health and cash payments meeting the needs of older people?

    Is it the most efficient use of taxpayers’ money when we know that restricting...

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  11. What the Budget means for the NHS: a bit less now, a lot less later?

    24 Mar 2012
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    The Chancellor made no announcements on the future of the NHS in his 2012 Budget statement. Yet, the contents of the Budget report have quite profound implications for NHS funding.

    They also reveal some interesting facts about the short-term.

    Short-term movements

    According to the 2010 Spending Review, the Government planned to spend £105.9 billion in 2011-12 on health in England. In Budget 2012, that total is now £900 million less.

    While £400...

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  12. What is happening to health spending in England?

    7 Oct 2011
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    It is a year since the Government published the outcome of the Spending Review and so fixed public spending allocations for the four years from 2011/12 to 2014/15. The Spending Review led to an 11% reduction in departmental allocations across government (IFS summary of Spending Review, Oct 2010). Health received a comparatively generous allocation with a small real terms increase (0.4% over the four years). 

    A year on we have...

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