• Spending on the English NHS could rise by £63bn in 2030/31 (2015/16 prices) to meet demand, if productivity growth continues at the current trend rate of 1.5% a year.
  • With no productivity growth, spending would need rise by £106bn.
  • With productivity growth 2.2% a year (the trend rate for the UK economy as a whole) the additional spending would increase by £46bn in 2030/31.
  • First published in January 2015.

Source: Roberts A. Funding overview: NHS funding projections. London: The Health Foundation, 2015.

Health Foundation projections, developed using the Nuffield Trust’s 2012 models, show that spending on the English NHS in 2030/31 could be as much as twice the current level, rising by 4.2% a year in real terms if no additional productivity is achieved. This is due to a growing and ageing population, increasing prevalence of chronic conditions, rising expectations, and increases in the real-terms unit costs of delivering services.

If the actual rate of productivity growth is closer to the recent trend rate of 1.5% a year, then spending would need to rise by 2.8% a year in real terms, leading to an overall increase of £63bn by 2030/31 (2014/15 prices).

Productivity in the NHS is traditionally lower than in other sectors, but if the NHS could achieve a productivity rate close to 2.2% a year (the trend rate for the UK economy as a whole) the additional spending would also increase by 2.2% a year, rising by £46bn by 2030/31 (2014/15 prices).

Note: Figures differ slightly to those published in our overview of NHS funding projection due to improvement of the model for community care activity, and changes in the total NHS planned spend for 2014/15.

Further reading

Chart: Public spending on health in the UK

January 2015 chart of the month. This interactive chart shows how, since the NHS was established in 1948, public funding for health care has increased by more than both inflation and economic growt...

Chart