England Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

Last updated:

Restraint is 'crippling' the NHS

NAGPAUL: 'The UK is spending significantly less on its health services as a proportion of GDP than that of other similar leading European countries'

The BMA called on the Government to end the chronic underfunding of the health service, ahead of this week’s autumn budget.

In an open letter to chancellor Philip Hammond, BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul called for an end to the Government’s policy of ‘crippling financial restraint’ which was ‘seriously impacting’ patient services.

Highlighting that a less than 1 per cent increase in health spending as a share of GDP in 2015 would have meant almost an extra £30bn for the NHS by 2022/23, Dr Nagpaul urged Mr Hammond to raise spending in line with other EU economies.

He said: ‘We know that the UK is spending significantly less on its health services as a proportion of GDP than that of other similar leading European countries. This gap in resource has led us to the situation the NHS faces today.

‘The BMA is, therefore, calling for an overall increase in UK health spending to match that of other leading European economies; in 2015 this would have meant an increase from 9.8 per cent of GDP being spent on health, to 10.4 per cent, or £10.3bn.

'This would mean the NHS would be £22.9bn better off in 2022/23, compared to current proposed levels of increase.

‘Such an investment would make a tangible, positive difference to our health service, for example, if just half this additional money was invested in hospital beds it could pay for an extra 35,000 beds every day.’

Read more from Tim Tonkin and follow on Twitter.