The NHS Confederation has tasked the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation with analysing the funding needs of the UK’s health and care systems over the next 15 years.
It is intended that the research will clearly identify the challenges faced by health and care services in the country, and provide objective evidence of what is required to deliver a health and care system able to meet demand.
Two reports are to be produced from the work: the first will outline UK spending trends since 2002 with projections for funding requirements until 2032, and will include an assessment of the scope for increased effectiveness and productivity; the second report will assess NHS performance against its core principle of “providing a comprehensive service, which meets the needs of all”.
“Just about everyone recognises the pressures on the health and care system are becoming intolerable. Now is the time to have an objective assessment of what we need over the next 10 to 15 years to stimulate debate about what we as a society are willing to pay for and what we can expect from our health and care system,” said the Confederation’s chief executive Niall Dickson.
“The health and care system in the UK has too often been subject to boom and bust planning and short-term decisions. It is time for a longer-term approach to planning, and this requires accurate research and analysis of the pressures the NHS will face in the future,” added Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation.
Last year the House of Lords Select Committee recommended that an independent Office for Health and Care Sustainability to be set up to look into health and social care for the next 15 to 20 years to better account for changing need and demographics.
In its report, the Committee concluded that a tax-funded, free-at-the-point-of-use NHS is still the most efficient way of delivering health care and should remain in place now and in the future, but it also stressed that many aspects of the way the NHS delivers healthcare will have to change to sustain the current model, as well as a shift in government priorities or increases in taxation.
Data released in November last year indicated that the public would support tax rises to fund the NHS. In the YouGov poll, 50 percent of adults backed a one percent rise in National Insurance tax to increase public spend on the NHS, while 27 percent were opposed to the move and 15 percent undecided.