Health and social care will need half of Government spending unless changes made: King's Fund

Health and social care could consume half of government spending in 50 years’ time if current trends continue, a think tank has predicted.


Currently nine per cent of the UK’s income is spent on health and social care, and this is predicted to more than double to 20 per cent by 2061

By , Medical Editor

7:30AM GMT 31 Jan 2013

By 2060, half of all Government spending could go on health and social care unless major changes are made, the King’s Fund has reported.

The new report states that population changes, increases in wealth and medical advances will increase pressure to spend more on health and social care in the future.

Currently nine per cent of the UK’s income is spent on health and social care, and this is predicted to more than double to 20 per cent by 2061. Taking into account economic growth, current levels of taxation and Government expenditure this would mean one in every £2 spent by the Government went on care.

Prof John Appleby, author of the paper, said that increases on this scale were not inevitable.

A public debate is needed on solutions he said, including the possibility of increased taxation or limiting the scope of publicly funded services.

John Appleby, chief economist at The King’s Fund and author of the report, said: “While there is nothing inevitable about spending on health and social care continuing to increase in line with historic trends, the pressure to spend more is likely to see it consuming an ever-larger proportion of national income.

“It is time to think much more long-term about how much we should spend, the benefits of this spending and how it should be paid for.

“By turning the spotlight on these issues now, we hope to stimulate an informed debate about the difficult choices ahead.”

Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: “This report from the King’s Fund highlights the financial pressures coming down the tracks and the need for a sustainable solution.

“There is a growing consensus that the NHS must change to meet the needs of our changing population, make the most of healthcare technology, and live within its means.

“Addressing these issues will require some tough choices and it is essential that we have open and honest conversations with the public about what we can afford in the future and how we will fund it.

“We urgently need an all-party debate about how we can establish a sustainable health and social care system, with radical solutions very much allowed.”


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