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Sustainability of the National Health Service as a Public Service Free at the Point of Need

Published Monday, July 6, 2015

This Library Note has been written to support the House of Lords debate on the sustainability of the National Health Service as a public service free at the point of need.

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Founded in 1948, the NHS in England has always been based on the principle of providing quality healthcare, which is free at the point of need. However, over recent years, there have been increasing pressures on the NHS finances, leading to concerns the organisation may face a growing annual funding gap. As such, the NHS has been encouraged to make efficiency savings, increase productivity and improve value for money. The organisation also intends to tackle its financial pressures by taking measures to improve public health, thus reduce spending on treatments and admissions.

This Library Note contains commentary on the current state of the NHS finances in England, and sets out some of the recommendations made to ensure future sustainability. This includes analysis and proposals from the National Audit Office, the King’s Fund, and NHS bodies such as NHS England and Monitor. The Library Note discusses these recommendations in the context of those aimed at improving productivity and efficiency in the NHS, and in the context of those aimed at reducing demand in the service through measures to improve public health.

Lords Library notes LLN-2015-0019

Author: Russell Taylor

Topics: Health finance, Health services, Health staff and professions

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