A lecture and article by Professor Stephen Hawking, outlining his views on the NHS, ruffled a few feathers last month, even reaching the national news bulletins.

The King’s Fund has looked at the facts about two of the issues he raised – whether the NHS is being privatised and if it is being given the funding it needs – and concludes…

Analysis of the Department of Health’s published accounts shows that the share of spending by NHS commissioners on the private sector was 7.7 per cent of the budget in 2016/17. This has increased slightly from 7.3 per cent in 2014/15, although changes in data definitions mean this is not strictly a like-for-like comparison.

The small incremental rise in spending on private provision is consistent with longer-term gradual increases over the past 15 years.

As for funding, the King’s Fund view is that there is still scope to improve productivity in the NHS. However, the NHS can no longer maintain quality of care and meet performance standards within its current budget.

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