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Knowledge Hub

Political parties fall well short on funding pledges

How much money will the NHS need from the next government?

Analysts at the Nuffield Trust think-tank claim that funding promises made in manifestos in the run-up to the general election will not be enough to cope with increased demand and sustain quality care over the next five years and beyond.

They costed four scenarios for planning expenditure and found that Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat pledges all fail to ‘reach even the lowest projection of possible future NHS spending patterns’. They warn that health spending as a proportion of gross domestic product is set to fall under each proposal.

Currently, the NHS in England gets £124bn. Under the Conservatives pre-election settlement, that was due to rise to £126bn by 2020, a 0.75% increase each year. Post general election, the parliamentary term will run to 2022/23.

Nuffield Trust analysed four scenarios:

  • funding keeping pace with economic growth would mean an NHS budget of £137bn by 2022/23 — £13bn more in real terms than spending in 2017
  • funding keeping pace with NHS inflation and predicted demand for care, and a removal of the cap on staff pay, offset by some increased productivity would give a budget of £141bn
  • funding equal to average real terms increases for the NHS since it began would result in £150bn — £27bn more than current spending
  • funding based on Office of Budget Responsibility projections of required spending would amount to £155bn by 2022/23 — an extra £31bn above expenditure this year

However, Conservative plans would only amount to £131.7bn by 2022/23; Liberal Democrat plans, £132.2bn; and Labour plans £135.3bn.

Below, in further information, are links to a selection of analyses and news stories on NHS angles to the general election and political manifestos.

Further information

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry: Conservative Party manifesto: ABPI response

ABPI: Labour Party manifesto: ABPI response

BBC: NHS performance data delay ‘disappointing’, regulator says

British Medical Journal: What the three main parties are promising on health

Health Service Journal: Conservatives: CQC given bigger role in social care and discharges

HSJ: Manifesto: Tories open to legislation to curb internal market

HSJ: The provider sector deficit due to be hidden until after election

HSJ: Theresa May backtracks on care funding policy

HSJ: Theresa May pledges £10bn capital funding for NHS

HSJ: Tories unveil social care funding reform plans

King’s Fund: What do the manifestos mean for the NHS?

King’s Fund: The King’s Fund responds to the Conservative Party’s manifesto

King’s Fund: The King’s Fund responds to the Labour Party’s manifesto

King’s Fund: The King’s Fund responds to the Liberal Democrat Party’s manifesto

Nuffield Trust: NHS funding choices and the 2017 general election

Nuffield Trust: No party has pledged enough funding for the NHS

Wellards: Political parties’ manifestos reveal NHS spending pledges