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Facts about NHS funding in Scotland

Make sure you've got the facts at your fingertips about NHS spending in Scotland in relation to the Scottish independence referendum.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Misleading claims have been made that Scotland’s NHS funding is losing out because of privatisation of the NHS in England. This is not true. Here are some clear facts about the NHS in the UK and the money we are spending on it.

1. The NHS is one of the greatest things about the UK.

The NHS is a great UK institution that we are all proud of. It was created by people in the UK and is there for everyone in the UK who needs it. It is funded by UK tax payers and is free at the point of use.

2. Scotland’s NHS is totally devolved.

The NHS in Scotland is totally devolved to the Scottish Parliament and all policy and spending decisions are made in Scotland.

3. The UK shares resources.

We share our resources across the UK. The Barnett formula means that when new funding is allocated, devolved policy areas such as health, education and justice receive a proportionate share. The Scottish Parliament can allocate this money in whichever way they choose.

4. £1200 extra spending per head in Scotland

Overall, this means that Scotland benefits from £1200 extra spending per head above the UK average.

5. NHS spending in England has not been cut

NHS funding in England has not been cut – over the last four years the NHS has received annual real terms growth. Funding is £12.7 billion higher in cash terms in 2014-15 than in 2010-11.

6. Spending in the private sector has only increased by 1 per cent

There is no policy to create savings by substantially increasing the use of the private sector. The reality is that spending on healthcare from the private sector has increased very little in recent years. In 2013-14, Commissioners’ spending on private providers in England only equated to about 6% of total NHS revenue expenditure – a 1 percentage point increase since 2010.

7. Scotland’s NHS is benefitting from extra health spending in England – say the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government have even admitted on their own website that extra spending on the NHS in England is leading to more resources for NHS spending in Scotland. They said:

Our total healthcare funding in 2014-15 of £12 billion reflects an increase of £138.1 million over 2013-14. This comprises resource funding of £11.6 billion, net capital funding of £254 million and annually managed expenditure of £100 million. Resource funding has increased by £284.6 million in 2014-15, from £11,321.8 million to £11,606.4 million. This is the full amount of the budget consequentials arising from the increase to health in England and delivers on the Scottish Government’s commitment to pass on the resource budget consequentials in full to the health budget in Scotland.

8. £1.3bn extra

Because of the budget consequentials arising from the increase to health in England over the whole of this Parliament the increase to Scotland’s health spending is more than £1.3 billion. Health spending in Scotland for 2014/15 is now £12 billion.

9. Best in the world

This year the independent Commonwealth Fund ranked the NHS as the best healthcare system across the 11 richest countries in the world, up from 2nd place in 2010. This Government is committed to maintaining a high quality healthcare service

Image by Rosmary - used under Creative Commons

Published 13 August 2014