Funding options for the NHS and social care in the UK

  • Research into health and social care funding trends, innovations, and public acceptability, led by RAND Europe.
  • Completed in 2019.

In June 2016 RAND Europe, in collaboration with the Personal Social Services Research Unit at University of Kent and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies were commissioned to undertake a programme of research into health and social care funding trends, innovations, and public acceptability.

The research aims to identify a range of feasible options for the future funding of health and social care in the UK in light of the anticipated gap between projected funding and demand for services.


Health and social care services in the UK are facing a significant delivery challenge as the pressures on the service far exceed planned funding. The task facing the government is not just to secure the resources and deliver service change for the coming five years but also to place health and social care services on a more sustainable footing for the longer term. To do this both services need to reform and a public and political consensus on the longer-term funding levels also needs to be established.


This research aims to improve the quality of debate on the long-term funding of health and social care in the four countries of the UK.

Determining the relative public acceptability of different funding models is as important a contribution to the evidence base for policy making as is identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the latest thinking about technically feasible solutions.

Approach and methodology

RAND Europe will be the lead contractor; the team is additionally supported by market research and public engagement specialists and an advisory panel of experts from the four UK countries and other countries of particular interest.

The approach includes assessing international evidence and thinking and developing a UK assessment framework, followed by feasibility and public acceptability testing before final reporting. The proposed methodology includes desk-based reviews, informant interviews, case studies, general public focus groups and a discrete choice experiment (DCE). An Expert Reference Group will also input.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Jon Sussex, Chief Economist at RAND Europe.

Further reading


Health funding – finally something we can agree on

How would the UK public prefer additional funds for health and social care to be raised? Jon Sussex explores the findings fro...

Working paper

Public acceptability of health and social care funding options

This paper explores the preferences of the general public with regard to the various ways of raising the additional funds nee...


Tax funding of health and social care internationally

Jon Sussex blogs about the idea of earmarking taxes for public funding of health care or social care, drawing on internationa...

Working paper

Identifying options for funding the NHS and social care in the UK: international evidence

This working paper explores how other countries approach funding their health and social care systems.

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