Will local NHS services in England have £570 billion to spend over the next five years?

18 January 2019
What was claimed

Local NHS has been allocated £570 billion to fund the NHS Long Term Plan.

Our verdict

Over the next five years across England, CCGs’ budgets are expected to total around £570 billion in cash terms. Funding is set to increase by around £3 billion each year in real terms.

“Local NHS allocated £570 billion to fund the NHS Long Term Plan”

NHS England, 10 January 2019

After NHS England announced its ‘Long Term Plan’ last week—a plan setting out its direction over the next ten years—it has made a number of follow up announcements.

One of these is that local NHS health services will receive £570 billion to go towards implementing that plan. That’s not all extra money—it’s the total amount local health services across England can expect to spend in the next five years. Presumably they would have received much of this money with or without the Long Term Plan. It also doesn’t account for inflation (or the way prices will change over time).

Funding is set to increase by around £3 billion each year in real terms.

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So what exactly is this £570 billion?

We asked NHS England for more information about the £570 billion in funding it had announced. It told us that it is the total amount of government funding that clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) is set to receive over the next five years.

Clinical commissioning groups are groups of GPs, other doctors and nurses who plan and buy health services for their local area based on need.

That £570 billion isn’t all new or extra money that’s been announced—it’s the total amount CCGs can expect to have to spend until 2023/24. Presumably they would have received much of this money, even without the introduction of the new ‘Long Term Plan’, as part of the funding they receive annually in order to run.

The draft budgets for CCGs across England show that in 2019/20 they are set to receive £104 billion which will increase each year to 2023/24, when they will receive £124 billion.

This doesn’t account for inflation

The above figures don’t account for how prices are expected to change over the coming years (inflation). For example, although funding may increase from one year to the next, if prices rise at a faster rate, this would mean a drop in funding in “real terms”.

Once inflation is factored in the budgets are set to increase from around £104 billion in 2019/20 to £115 billion in 2023/24, based on 2019/20 prices—an increase of around £11 billion in real terms.

Looked at another way, each year the overall budget for CCGs increases by around £3 billion in real terms.

When you account for inflation over the five years, the budgets total around £550 billion.

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