NHS Funding: The Price Isn’t Right

Here’s an excerpt from an excellent piece on NHS funding by Jonathan Allsopp:

In the midst of the most important election ever for the future of our NHS, the poverty of the debate about the funding of the health service is, at times, astonishing. Too often the NHS is described as “unaffordable” when it was perfectly affordable amidst the ruins of the second world war. Not for the first time there are calls for charging for some NHS services such as GP visits or A&E attendances yet there is barely a mention of the billions spent on propping up the “internal market”.

A 2014 report by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) estimated that the costs of the internal market (with its need for contracts, billing, costing, activity data, computer systems, legal advice etc) at a conservative £5 billion per year. A more likely figure of £10 billion has been suggested by the National Health Action Party.

And this ignores the one-off costs associated with repeated reorganisation and restructuring. The bill for implementing the Health and Social Care Act of 2012 is estimated at more than £3 billion. These are staggering sums of money (as much as 10% of the total NHS budget) that are barely mentioned in any debate around the affordability of the NHS.

You can read the full article on the SHA blog.

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