The NHS budget and how it has changed

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Part of The NHS in a nutshell

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  • Posted:Thursday 05 September 2019

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Planned spending for the Department of Health and Social Care in England is £139.3 billion in 2019/20.

The majority (£132.3 billion) of this is revenue funding for spending on day-to-day items such as staff salaries and medicines. The remainder (£7.0 billion) is for capital spending on buildings and equipment which are longer term investments.

Though funding for the Department of Health and Social Care continues to grow, the rate of growth slowed during the period of austerity that followed the 2008 economic crash. Budgets rose by 1.5 per cent each year on average in the 10 years between 2009/10 to 2018/19, compared to the 3.7 per cent average rises since the NHS was established.  

In July 2018, the NHS was given a new five-year funding deal that will see some health spending rise by 3.4 per cent on average from 2019/20 to 2023/24. This long-term funding deal only applies to services within the scope of NHS England’s mandate, and excludes important areas of the Department of Health and Social Care budget such as capital investment and the education and training of NHS staff.

In the September 2019 Spending Round, the government announced further increases to budgets for capital investment, public health and the education and training of the NHS workforce. Even with these increases, the total Department of Health and Social Care budget will rise by 2.9 per cent between 2019/20 and 2020/21, which is less than both the long-run average and the rises that NHS England’s mandate services will see.

While the new NHS funding deal will ease current pressures, it is not enough to simultaneously restore performance against key waiting times standards and transform services to deliver better care.

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