NHS will need 20bn by 2012 or the Government 'should start charging for the health service' says think tank
Spending plans to March 2015 'are tighter for the NHS than any delivered in the last 50 years'Cuts will be 'far from pain free' warns NHS chief
08:59 GMT, 4 July 2012
The NHS urgently need to reconsider what services should remain free as it faces a decade of austerity, financial experts said.
Researchers from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) claim NHS spending to 2015 will be the tightest four-year period in the last 50 years.
The research concludes that 'serious thought' must be given to NHS spending
including reconsidering which services should be freely available or the
level of taxation needed to finance the service in the future.
Expense: The NHS accounts for a quarter of all public spending in England
The authors of the study said that continuing the real freeze in English NHS spending between 2015 and 2017 would mean cutting spending on other public services by an average 2.3 per cent a year.
NHS spending in the UK reached 137.4 billion in 2010/11, the authors said, with the spending in England accounting for a quarter of all public spending.
The report, funded by the Nuffield
Trust, states that increasing health spending in line with national income between 2015 and 2022 would still leave the NHS budget growing less quickly than what is needed to care for an ageing population.
IFS deputy director Carl Emmerson, who co-wrote the report, said: 'The current spending plans that run to March 2015 are tighter for the NHS than any delivered in the last 50 years, and the outlook for spending on public services beyond this suggests that, if it grows at all, NHS spending is not likely to keep pace with the amount that it has been estimated it needs to keep pace with the costs of an ageing population.'
6FT 5IN GIRL SUES DOCTORS OVER UNCHECKED GROWTH
A woman who stands 6ft 5in is suing a hospital trust for allowing her to grow so tall.
Kate Woodward, pictured below, claims she needs 2million to pay for private treatment for the rest of her life, because a tumour on her pituitary gland went undiagnosed for four years.
The tumour made the gland produce excessive quantities of growth hormone.
As a result, she shot up abnormally quickly, and was already 5ft 9in – the height of the average adult male – when she was still in junior school.
Once an aspiring actress, Miss Woodward, 20, claims her condition has made her too ugly for stage and screen and ‘her life has been ruined’.
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust admits clinical negligence but says its payout to her should be limited to 698,000.
Miss Woodward is pressing on with her case at London’s High Court, saying her suffering is so great, and her fear of state health provision so extreme, that she needs more money to fund private treatment close to her home.
The film student says she has significant problems with her back, knees and teeth, and has been left unable to buy clothes or shoes on the high street.
Miss Woodward, who has moved from Leeds with her parents to Sidmouth in Devon, told the court: ‘I don’t really want to be with the NHS any more because of what they have done to me. They have lost my trust.
‘My plan was to do acting and writing together, so if I could get my face on TV, it would be an extra way to get into the writing business.’
She had won awards for her acting as a child, she said, but her unchecked growth wrecked her plans.
The trust has already paid out 288,000 for treatment, dental care, holidays and special footwear. It says another 700,000 will be enough.
Nuffield Trust chief economist Anita Charlesworth said: 'Asking the NHS to take a more equal share of the pain across the public services amounts to an unprecedented productivity challenge.
'If the Government can increase taxation or borrowing, cut the welfare bill further or generate greater efficiencies in other parts of the public sector then the NHS might be in line for a real-terms increase, albeit at a rate that does not keep pace with demographic pressures.
'However if any of those options are judged to be too difficult politically or too damaging to vulnerable groups and other key public services, health spending will have to fall in real terms.
'Whatever happens, the NHS needs to plan a medium-term future based on belt-tightening and it needs to be prepared for future years to be even tougher than they are now.'
Jacqueline Davis, from the campaign group Keep Our NHS Public, said: 'The Government continues to squander the NHS budget on a marketisation agenda which costs an estimated 10 billion a year, money lost to frontline clinical services. Another 3 billion has been spent on unnecessary reforms.
'The Government should stop wasting money on creating an unwanted market in the English NHS, otherwise there will be a continued reduction in core services and the NHS risks becoming a poor service for poor people.'
A Department of Health spokesman said: 'We know that the NHS can, and must be, more efficient to meet the demands of an ageing population and increased costs for developments in drugs and medical technology.
'Where the NHS can do things better and save money to reinvest in high-quality patient care, it must do so.'
NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said: 'We need to be honest about the action necessary to deal with a decade of spending squeezes and the rising cost of healthcare.
'We need to forensically examine what services and treatments provide the best outcomes for patients and local communities, and what the NHS can and cannot afford to provide in the future.
'This will be far from pain-free, but decisive action is necessary if we are to maintain high-quality services and stay in the black.
'If the NHS does not change, it will not be fit for the future. We need swift action before the financial pressures overcome us.'