Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Health Check

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Health Check

Article excerpt

George Osborne's decision to ring-fence the [pounds sterling]105.9bn National Health Service budget has attracted criticism from figures as diverse as the Tory ex-chancellor Nigel Lawson and the former Labour health secretary Andy Burnham. They argue that the NHS, which accounts for 14.9 per cent of all government spending, should be cut to limit reductions to public services elsewhere. But as the graph (right) shows, Britain continues to spend less than many other developed countries on health care. At 8.7 per cent of GDP, total spending is less than in 19 of the 34 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states, including France, Germany, the United States, Canada, Italy and Spain.

Yet, owing to years of generous spending settlements by New Labour, public expenditure on health care, at 7.2 per cent of GDP, is now above the OECD average of 6.5 per cent. Between 1997 and 2010, NHS spending increased by 5. …

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