This is a summary of chapter 30 - Financing the NHS: The Current System. It was written by Mr Tony Harrison, a Fellow in Health Policy at the King’s Fund. He has published extensively on the future of hospital care, the private finance initiative, health research policy and waiting list management.
In this chapter he gives an overview of the ways in which the NHS is financed and the historical loop funding seemed to have followed. He believes the decision to finance services almost entirely out of taxation, still leaves a large number of issues to be resolved. The question remains to be considered, is it appropriate to continue to rely upon tax finance? The Government is committed to it: so is the Conservative Opposition. Nevertheless, it may come into question in the very near future.
The Government’s response was to argue that tax finance remained the best option, but that substantially more resources would be needed to provide high standards of health care. The result was the largest sustained increase in NHS spending ever experienced. This rate of increased spending will continue until 2007, but what will happen after that?
He believes, as yet, there is no reason to believe that the level achieved will be regarded as ‘good enough’: the pressure to spend more will continue, due to new technology, the need to continue to raise clinical quality, and from the Government’s own desire to respond to what it perceives as rising public expectations.
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