Identifying options for funding the NHS and social care in the UK: international evidence

The Health Foundation | July 2018 | Identifying options for funding the NHS and social care in the UK:international evidence

A new working paper from The Health Foundation uncovers how 16 other high-income countries have considered and implemented changes to their funding systems for health and social care to better meet the challenges ahead. 


The paper aims to:

  • provide examples of funding configurations for health and social care, as well as changes that have been implemented, or are being considered, in a range of high-income countries
  • explore the drivers of recent or planned health and social care funding changes and reforms and the contexts within which decisions around funding were taken
  • highlight key points that can inform the range of conceivable options for funding health care and social care in the four countries of the UK.

Key conclusions

  • Most reviewed countries fund health care primarily from public sources, such as taxation and mandatory health insurance, but funding of social care often relies more than health care on individuals paying privately.
  • Health and social care funding reforms tend to be incremental rather than radical, are path-dependent, and are catalysed by changes in economic conditions rather than by rising demand for care.

High-income countries have taken diverse approaches to tackling the need to increase health and social care funding and there is no single optimal, or commonly preferred, solution to achieving sustainable revenues (Source: The Health Foundation).

The working paper can be downloaded here 

Social prescribing schemes across England to receive £4.5 million

Department of Health and Social Care | July 2018 | Social prescribing schemes across England to receive £4.5 million

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced an investment of almost  £4.5 million in programmes to refer patients to local voluntary and community services such as walking clubs, gardening or arts activities.

The practice, known as ‘social prescribing’, aims to improve patients’ quality of life, health and wellbeing by recognising that health is affected by a range of social, economic and environmental factors.


Evidence shows that this approach can reduce demand on NHS services: a UK study found that after 3 to 4 months, 80% of patients referred to a social prescribing scheme had reduced their use of A&E, outpatient appointments and inpatient admissions.

A total of 23 social prescribing projects in England will receive a share of the funding to extend existing social prescribing schemes or establish new ones.

The schemes include a focus on:

  • reaching out to people who may be socially isolated, for example because of mental health problems or learning difficulties
  • providing support for those impacted by health inequalities, such as transgender people or people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds helping people with particularly complex needs who regularly access health services

In the news:

GP Online  GP social prescribing to receive £4.5m funding boost

Pulse New health secretary pledges £4.5m towards GP social prescribing

Call for applicants to test new approaches to help people with mental health or musculoskeletal conditions stay in work

Department for Work and Pensions & Department of Health and Social Care | July 2018 |

Work and Health Challenge Fund – Application Portal

A £4.2 million challenge fund to support people with mental health or musculoskeletal conditions to stay in work has been launched by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, and the Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities, Jackie Doyle-Price. The fund is the latest in a range of government measures that are part of a 10-year strategy which aims to see 1 million more disabled people in work by 2027.


The Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health and Social Care are looking to fund around twenty Initiatives which will improve our understanding of what works in one or more of the following areas:

    • Helping people stay in work by increasing their ability to self-manage their conditions.
    • Helping people access advice and support about what sort of work they might be capable of doing given their wider needs and circumstances.
    • Developing new approaches to help employers and individuals develop workplace solutions, or ways of working that facilitate greater participation of people experiencing these conditions.
    • Improving systems by joining up services to strengthen communication, liaison or joint action.

We welcome applications from employers, charities, social enterprises, local authorities, health bodies and others from across England, Scotland and Wales.

The deadline for receipt of Challenge Fund applications is Friday 17th August at 17.00. Projects are anticipated to run between October 2018 and February 2020 (Department for Work & Pensions & Department of Health and Social Care).

Recovering NHS performance risks swallowing up new funding

NHS Providers | July 2018 | Recovering NHS performance risks swallowing up new funding

A report by NHS Providers warns that filling the gaps that have opened up in the health service after almost a decade of austerity will account for much if not most of the new money recently announced by the prime minister.

The report  The NHS funding settlement: recovering lost ground informs the debate on how the additional money should be spent to deliver the best deal for patients and service users, and for the taxpayer.

The report offers a realistic assessment of the likely costs of restoring performance in the hospital, mental health, community and ambulance sectors, so the health service can sustainably deliver the standards of care the public rightly expects, as outlined in the NHS constitution (Source:NHS Providers).

A news release is available here 

The report can be read at NHS Providers 

Apply now for stroke research funding

NIHR | June 2018| Apply now for stroke research funding

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in partnership with the British Association of Stroke Physicians (BASP) is inviting applications from the stroke research community to develop high quality research proposals.

NIHR are calling for applications from doctors, nurses and allied health professionals for writing groups to support the development of the research portfolio across the stroke pathway. Up to £2,000 per writing group will be available and it is anticipated that up to two applications will be funded.


Proposals will be peer reviewed by representatives of the BASP Scientific Committee, NIHR CRN Stroke National Specialty Group and other invited reviewers (Source: NIHR).

Full details including a guidance document and an application form are at NIHR 

Long-term funding of adult social care

The Housing, Communities and Local Government and Health and Social Care Committees have published Long-term funding of adult social care.

The joint report calls for a sustainable funding solution for adult social care and the introduction of a ‘Social Care Premium’, either as an additional element of National Insurance or with the premium paid into dedicated not-for-profit social insurance fund that people would be confident could only be used for social care.

Watch the interactive report:

social care
Image source:


Better health and care for all

Better health and care for all: A 10-point plan for the 2020s. The final report of the Lord Darzi Review of Health and Care.| Institute for Public Policy Research

A previous report concluded that a bold long-term funding and reform plan is needed to secure the future of the NHS and social care. This final report of the Lord Darzi Review puts forward a ten-point plan to achieve this, as well as a ten-point offer to the public which sets out what the health and care system will be able to offer if this plan for investment and reform is adopted. 

Full report: Better health and care for all: A 10-point plan for the 2020s.

Summary available here