The NHS is being given the exact amount of funding that should be expected, a new in-depth analysis shows.
Healthcare spending amounted to 9.8 per cent of Britain’s GDP in 2014 – a similar figure to that in other EU nations.
Critics have consistently blasted how much money the health service receives amid rising waiting times and queues in A&E.
But economists now argue a lack of funding isn’t the issue, with money being pumped into the NHS being considered above average.
The discovery was made by John Appleby, director of research at the Nuffield Trust, and Ben Gershlick, economics analyst at the Health Foundation.
Healthcare spending amounted to 9.9 per cent of Britain’s GDP in 2014 – a similar figure to that in other EU nations
Writing in a blog post on the British Medical Journal, they said: ‘The UK is spending what we would expect given its wealth.
‘How much we should spend on healthcare is still a live and important debate, but the argument that we should spend more simply because we spend much less than the rest of Europe isn’t enough any more.’
Still behind Germany and France
However, they concluded that the NHS would need a further injection of £24 billion if it was to compete on the same level as Germany and France.
Their claims, which disprove the theory the NHS is strapped of cash, were made on the back of changes to how international spending is measured.
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Patient safety is at risk due to an ‘unacceptable’ lack of NHS funding, according to a letter signed by 2,000 NHS doctors in January.
The open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May said doctors constantly have to apologise to patients about the poor standard of care.
The document, published in the British Medical Journal, said things ‘simply cannot continue’ the way they are.
The doctors who organised the letter – consultant anaesthetist Anita Sugavanam and A&E consultant Rob Galloway, of Brighton & Sussex University Hospital – said it is one that they hoped ‘we would never have to write’.
Their letter said: ‘We are constantly failing to meet our own and our patients expectations. We apologise to them and we also empathise with them.’
Previous estimates showed that Britain’s healthcare spending equated to 8.7 per cent of its GDP in 2014. In real terms it is provided with around £120 billion each year.
Highest spending in history
The new analysis, which shows Britain to be above the average mark of 9.7 per cent, comes after a report released in May showed that health spending is running at its highest level in history.
Researchers at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research found that annual spending on the NHS has reached £2,160 per person.
The figures have also continued to rise steadily in terms of a fraction of Britain’s total income, increasing from 4.7 per cent in 1997 to 7.4 per cent last year.
The report quashed claims by Labour that the Tories have presided over years of ‘cuts’ – which have been blamed for the rationing of many treatments.
Severe pressure to provide more
As waiting times lengthen and hospitals become forced to turn patients away, the Government has been under severe pressure to provide more money.
The Department of Health repeatedly insists it has given all the NHS more than it needed, at the same time as other public services had received fundings cuts.
But NHS England chief Simon Stevens has previously said it would be ‘stretching it’ to say the NHS was given more than it had asked for.