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Match leading economies on health spending, urges BMA

Philip Hammond outside number 11
HAMMOND: The BMA has asked the chancellor to keep up with European average spending on health

Matching the health funding of other leading economies could pay for thousands more GPs and hospital beds, the BMA has told the chancellor.

BMA council chair Mark Porter has written to the chancellor Philip Hammond in advance of Wednesday’s budget.

Dr Porter has called for UK spending on health – 9.8 per cent of GDP – to match the average for Europe’s 10 leading economies, which is 10.4 per cent.

The UK’s spending in 2015 would have been £10.3bn higher, had the levels matched. Half the money could have been used, for example, to pay for 35,000 more hospital beds, and £3bn of it to fund an increase of around 10,000 GPs with their associated staff and premises costs.

Dr Porter writes: ‘The crisis facing the NHS and social care is well known and becoming increasingly severe – the Government cannot remain a bystander any longer.

‘An entire system under such strain is not due to frontline financial mismanagement, or individual chief executives’ poor decision making, it is due to the conscious underinvestment in our health service.

‘Our members report that services are truly at breaking point, with unprecedented rising patient demand met only with financial restraint and directives for the NHS and social care to make huge, unachievable savings through sustainability and transformation plans across England.

‘We are not calling for more than other comparable nations, we are simply calling for you to match the average spending of other leading European economies.’

The letter comes just days after the Commons public accounts committee published a report which said politicians and health leaders must find money for the most stricken NHS organisations and produce a sustainable plan for the health service’s future immediately.

Watch BMA council chair Mark Porter's pre-budget statement

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