Funding Options for the NHS and Social Care in the UK

British money surrounded by pills, tablets and capsules

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Research on the public acceptability of different health and social care funding models first examined other countries' funding schemes and found there is no single, commonly preferred solution to achieving sustainable revenues. The second stage of this research will assess the popularity of different funding approaches among the UK public.

Background

Health and social care services in the UK are facing a significant delivery challenge as the pressures on the service far exceed planned funding. The task facing the government is not just to secure the resources and deliver service change for the coming five years but also to place health and social care services on a more sustainable footing for the longer term.

To do this, both services need to reform, and a public and political consensus on the longer-term funding levels also needs to be established.

Goals

RAND Europe was commissioned by the Health Foundation to identify a range of feasible options for the future funding of health and social care in the UK. The first stage of this research examined how other countries fund health and social care. The second stage will assess how popular different funding approaches are among the general public.

Methodology

RAND Europe is leading the research in collaboration with the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the University of Kent and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

The approach includes assessing international evidence and thinking and developing a UK assessment framework, followed by feasibility and public acceptability testing before final reporting.

Findings

International evidence

  • Taxation and other public sources primarily fund health care in most countries reviewed. Social care, however, often relies more in private funding from individuals.
  • There is no single, commonly preferred solution to achieving sustainable revenues. High-income countries have taken diverse approaches to tackling the need to increase health and social care funding.
  • Funding reforms are driven by changes in economic conditions rather than rising demand for care. These reforms tend to be incremental, not radical, and are path-dependent.