The Harding and Pritchard paper titled ‘UK and Twenty Comparable Countries GDP-Expenditure on Health 1980-2013: The Historic and Continued Low Priority of UK Health-Related Expenditure’, and published in the International Journal of Health Policy and Management, has had over 1,000 views in the first month it has been openly available.
For the majority of that time it has been made available in press, and only in the last few days has it been assigned to an issue. The paper illustrates the UK’s low proportional spend in relation to health related services:
It is well-established that for a considerable period the United Kingdom has spent proportionally less of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health-related services than almost any other comparable country. Average European spending on health (as a % of GDP) in the period 1980 to 2013 has been 19% higher than the United Kingdom, indicating that comparable countries give far greater fiscal priority to its health services, irrespective of its actual fiscal value or configuration. While the UK National Health Service (NHS) is a comparatively lean healthcare system, it is often regarded to be at a ‘crisis’ point on account of low levels of funding. Indeed, many state that currently the NHS has a sizeable funding gap, in part due to its recently reduced GDP devoted to health but mainly the challenges around increases in longevity, expectation and new medical costs. The right level of health funding is a political value judgement. As the data in this paper outline, if the UK ‘afforded’ the same proportional level of funding as the mean averageEuropean country, total expenditure would currently increase by one-fifth.