• Spending on health is similar to – but 5% below – the EU-15 average for spending per person. The UK is further below the average for numbers of beds and staff.
  • This is in the context of nearly flat funding in the English NHS projected from 2016/17–2020/21, following spending (on the NHS across the UK) growing by about 5% a year between 1990/91 and 2010/11.
  • These measures show inputs not outcomes. A health system may have relatively fewer inputs but nonetheless perform better due to being more efficient or having better public health or social care systems in place.
  • Download a PowerPoint file of the individual charts

 

The UK has typically spent less on health care than the rest of the EU-15 (the first 15 countries to join the EU). This was true even during a period of investment in order to try and match the EU average spending on health in the 2000s.

UK spending is similar to – but 5% below – the EU-15 average for spending per person (in US$ purchasing power parity to make the figures comparable). The gap is slightly larger for hospital beds (2.7 per 1000 people, EU-15 average 4.5), nurses (8.2 vs 9.4), and doctors (2.8 vs 3.8). Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and France consistently spend more, have more beds, and more staff than the UK. They have a range of different health care systems, with Sweden’s very similar to the UK’s.

This is in the context of nearly flat funding in the English NHS projected from 2016/17 – 2020/21, following spending (on the NHS across the UK) growing by about 5% a year between 1990/91 and 2010/11.

The ‘correct’ level of resource (including spending, beds, and staff) depends not just on our position relative to our European neighbours but also a range of technical factors (eg, efficiency) and political and cultural views.

You might also like...

Event

Webinar: NHS reform – what do the proposals mean for general practice?

Event

How the government's proposed NHS reforms will affect primary care and why general practice should...

Podcast

Is it time for another Wanless Review?

Podcast

Episode 9. Given the pandemic, do we need another Wanless Review to assess the NHS's future funding...

Blog

Mind the gaps: adult social care workforce policy during the pandemic

Blog

Has national support for adult social care staff in England during the pandemic been adequate?...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

NEW PODCAST: Given the pandemic, is it now time for another Wanless Review to assess the future funding needs of th… https://t.co/a2khDB2A0Y

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more