Value for money in the English NHS

Summary of the evidence

December 2006

Sheila Leatherman
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Key points

  • For a period from 2000, NHS funding was increased to match European levels of spending on healthcare. 
  • Questions remain over where the extra money has gone and how wisely it is being spent. The extent to which the NHS secures value for money for taxpayers has become a central issue of political and public debate.
  • This report therefore seeks to answer the following questions:
    • How much extra money has been made available to the NHS?
    • What has the extra money been spent on?
    • What improvements have been made in the volume and quality of healthcare?
    • What are the implications for productivity?

This research report assesses whether the NHS provides value for money for the English taxpayer. It looks at increases in spending levels and asks whether these have translated into a corresponding rise in the quality of care for patients.

Value for Money in the English NHS: summary of the evidence was undertaken as part of QQUIP, a five year initiative of the Health Foundation. It shows that while expenditure on drugs, NHS staff, salaries and training may have increased, the additional £6n per year being spent on healthcare is unlikely to transform the health service.

QQUIP (Quest for Quality and Improved Performance) was a 5-year research initiative of The Health Foundation. QQUIP provided independent reports on a wide range of data about the quality of healthcare in the UK. It drew on the international evidence base to produce information on where healthcare resources are currently being spent, whether they provide value for money and how interventions in the UK and around the world have been used to improve healthcare quality.

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