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Increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion

Last updated: 10:55am 11 July 2019

First, we will increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years, delivering an increase in real funding per head of the population for every year of the parliament.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.66

Our verdict

The NHS is the fifth largest employer in the world. Public health spending in the UK has doubled over the last 20 years, reaching approximately £150 billion in 2018. However, the NHS now faces the demands of an ageing population, including the need for more carers, and for new treatments for long-term conditions, such as diabetes. At the same time, tackling health concerns such as mental illness, obesity and antibiotic-resistant bacteria requires further development of our healthcare system. All of which means the NHS requires more money. So this policy promises to increase NHS spending in real terms every year, reaching a total of at least £8 billion by 2022.

In 2016-17, the Department of Health’s budget was £122.5 billion. In 2017-18, under this government, that rose to £124.7 billion.

In June 2018, the Prime Minister announced a five-year NHS funding plan which exceeds the promised minimum £8 billion increase. Under the new funding settlement, the government committed to a real terms increase of almost £20 billion from 2018-22, a commitment which was restated in the October 2018 Budget.

The first year of this term of office saw a real terms increase of over £1 billion in NHS spending, and under the new funding settlement, the government is on track to fulfil this policy pledge. We’ll keep tracking to see how the spending plans develop, but for now this is ‘in progress’. Follow this policy for updates.

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