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UK health spending ‘needs to be 13% higher’ to match German or French levels

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said the NHS can no longer meet performance standards on current funding levels.

Hospitals in England are spending £900 less per person than Germany, an expert has warned.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the argument for additional funding for the health service is “clear” as he warned that it could not continue to operate in the “red zone”.

He said that UK health spending needs to be around 13% higher to match German or French levels of health spending.

Speaking at the NHS Providers conference in Birmingham, Mr Hopson described the effects of the NHS being in the middle of the “longest and deepest” financial squeeze in its history.

He pointed out that the NHS in England missed all four major targets – the four-hour A&E standard, the 18-week elective surgery waiting time standard, the expectation that cancer patients will begin treatment within 62 days and the ambulance response time target.

He said that the NHS can no longer meet performance standards on current funding levels.

Meanwhile he warned that the health service was “slipping back” on improvements made throughout the 2000s.

“The simple point is that if we want the best care, we have to pay for it. UK health spending would need to be around £24 billion, or 13% higher, to match current German or French levels of health spending,” Mr Hopson said.

“If we wanted to spend as much per head of population as the French do, we’d need to be spending £300 a year more per person. To match the Germans we’d need to be spending £900 a year more per person. Sobering figures which show that, in the end, as my dad used to say, you get what you pay for.”

He added: “We are now trying to run the NHS above its sustainable limits, well into the red zone.

“And a growing, tangible, frustration that the hard-fought gains of the 2000s across a range of measures – for example, waiting times and single sex wards – are starting to slip back at increasing pace.”

He said that the NHS budget and staff numbers are growing but they are not keeping up with demand and to meet performance standards.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2014 the UK spent £2,777 per person on healthcare.

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