Historic trends in health care spending

Average annual real spending has increased by around 4 per cent over the lifetime of the NHS: during the 20th century the average was 3.5 per cent, and in this century 6.6 per cent (1).

This is a pattern of growth that matches most other countries. In 2010 the UK devoted more than twice the share of its gross domestic product (GDP) to public plus private health care spending than it did in 1960. For more on this, see John Appleby's article on rises in health care spending in the British Medical Journal.

If projecting future funding scenarios to 2032, the long-term trend of 4% real-terms growth would suggest funding reaches a total of £170 billion, £34 billion greater than the Office of Budgetary Responsibility's central projection of £136 billion.

Future funding scenarios

Source: J Appleby 2012

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  1. Appleby J, Crawford R, Emerson C (2009). Report. How cold will it be: Prospects for NHS funding 2011-2017