UK health spending compared to France and Germany

23 September 2016
What was claimed

As a percentage of GDP, government spending on the NHS is set to fall.

Our verdict

This is correct, assuming government spending plans happen and the UK’s output of goods and services (GDP) increases as predicted. The proportion of GDP made up by NHS spending is set to decrease to April 2021.

What was claimed

The UK spends less as a percentage of GDP on the NHS than France or Germany.

Our verdict

This is correct.

“We spend a smaller percentage of our GDP on our NHS than do France and Germany...”

Julia Hartley Brewer, 23 September 2016

“We are planning to spend a reducing percentage of our national income on health, at a time where demand is rising rapidly”

Norman Lamb MP, 23 September 2016

It’s correct that the UK spends less on public healthcare as a proportion of GDP than in France or Germany.

In 2015, almost 8% of UK GDP was public spending on health. France’ healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP was just under 9%, and Germany’s was just over. If you add in private healthcare, just under 10% of UK GDP was spending on health, compared to about 11% of France and Germany’s GDP.

And Norman Lamb is also correct that UK spending on health as a proportion of GDP is set to decrease in the future.

Public spending on the NHS across the UK is projected to go from 7.3% of GDP in 2015/16 to to 6.7% of GDP by the end of this parliament.

That’s not because public spending on healthcare is falling, but because it’s predicted that other parts of GDP will grow faster.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.