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Budget 2018: What it means for health and social care

The Chancellor re-stated the government’s commitment to a multi-year funding settlement over the next 5 years. At the time of the announcement this amounted to £20.5bn extra for NHS England by 2023/24, a 3.4% increase per year on average. Higher than expected inflation means that, in real terms, the annual increase will be less than 3.4%. However, the Budget made clear that the government will confirm the final settlement, consistent with the £20.5bn real-terms increase, by the 2019 Spending Review.

The deal applies to the budget for NHS England only and not the overall budget of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), which also includes important areas of health spending such as major capital investment, public health, and education and training.

This narrower measure of health spending is not consistent with that used by previous governments and endorsed by the Health and Social Care Select Committee. Our three organisations – the Health Foundation, Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund – continue to highlight that the DHSC budget is the best way of measuring healthspending, as it provides the full picture of all the areas of health spending that affect patient care.