Health care accounts for £1 in every £5 spent by the government – more than £150bn across the UK in 2019/20. Over the past decade of austerity, the NHS has been protected from the real-terms funding cuts other public services have seen. But its funding growth has been severely constrained, at just 1.4% per year since 2010 – less than half the long-run average, and just a fifth of the 6.5% it averaged the decade before. This growth rate is similar to that for health systems in other Western European nations over the same time period.

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