Despite “adequate or average” funding, our waiting lists are much higher than average. Even communication is failing at a basic level, more in keeping with an African 3rd world country. The emperor has no clothes..
Britain is spending “about what might be expected” on the health service according to analysis which questions claims that the NHS is starved of cash compared with other countries.
Spending on health matches the average in other western European countries and those who call for more money for the NHS can no longer rely on the argument that Britain is spending less, economists said.
However, to match higher spenders such as France and Germany, health funds would have to increase by £24 billion a year, conclude John Appleby, director of research at the Nuffield Trust, and Ben Gershlick, economics analyst at the Health Foundation, in The BMJ.
Concern that the NHS is short of money has increased as waiting lists and queues in A&E lengthen and treatments ranging from IVF to hip replacements are being rationed.
Those demanding more money have often used the same argument as Tony Blair, who justified a big increase in NHS funds in the 2000s on the basis that spending was below countries such as Spain and Portugal.
However, technical changes implemented this year to how international spending is measured mean more social care funds are now counted, raising Britain’s health spending to 9.9 per cent of GDP for 2014, instead of the 8.7 per cent previously estimated.
The £20 billion increase means Britain’s health spending is now about average for the OECD and 14 other mainly western European states who joined the EU before 2004 and comfortably above countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Finland.
Professor Appleby and Mr Gershlick write in a blog: “The UK is spending what we would expect given its wealth . . . How much we should spend on healthcare is still a live and important debate, but the argument that we should spend more simply because we spend much less than the rest of Europe isn’t enough any more.”
Countries tend to spend more of their GDP on health as they get richer, with each $1,000 increase in wealth per head linked to a $120 increase in health funds. By the adjusted figures, the UK spends $3,675 a year per person on health, well above the $1,870 for each person in Greece, but the Netherlands spends a third more per head at $4,857.
Professor Appleby and Mr Gershlik stress that matching the average is not in itself an argument against more cash for the NHS. If voters want more comprehensive services that might require higher spending, they suggest.
Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, clashed with the government over health spending earlier this year, telling MPs Britain should be aiming higher than countries such as Mexico.