NHS England said in 2014 that £8 billion was the minimum it needed by 2020 to fill the £30 billion estimated NHS funding gap. That relies on the NHS finding the remaining £22 billion in savings.
The government’s commitment of £10 billion, rather than £8 billion, isn’t as generous as it sounds. The £8 billion requested was to cover a five year period. The £10 billion counts funding for an extra year—the last year of the previous parliament—which wasn’t covered by the NHS’s spending options anyway.
The NHS is set to get about £8 billion over the course of this parliament, taking inflation into account.
It’s also not all of what the NHS asked for. The NHS said that its ambitions for savings were only possible “provided we take action in prevention, invest in new care models, sustain social care services, and… see...wider system improvements”.
The government’s £8 billion commitment refers specifically to the NHS England budget. Outside of this, spending on public health is expected to fall over this parliament, and spending on social care is expected to continue to fall short of what’s needed.
That means total health spending in England—including areas such as public health and social care as well as NHS England—will only rise by £4.5 billion over the same period, according to leading healthcare think tanks.