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Charging for health care

A guide to books, journals and websites relevant to debates over funding and allocation of resources within the NHS. This guide has been written to provide background information and sources for the Speakers Corner Trust Forum for Debate, titled 'The NHS and Finite Public Funds: The Case for Charging'. 

Forum for Debate

The British Library is providing background information and sources for further reading about each topic featured in Speakers’ Corner Trust’s Forum for Debate.

The focus of each bibliography will be on recent work that is accessible to someone with a general interest in the topic. All of the references in this resource guide are to materials that are either available without charge through the internet, or that may be accessed at the Library reading rooms in London.

Speakers’ Corner Trust is a registered charity which promotes free expression and public debate. The Forum for Debate series is intended to cover issues of general public interest, with invited contributions from policy workers, commentators, academics and campaigners on either side of the debate. More information can be found on the Speakers’ Corner website at:

The topic:The NHS and Finite Public Funds: the Case for Charging – January 2010

The issue of cost of health care provision, and how to improve quality and access alongside increasing demands, has generated much debate over the past few years. In the UK, the celebration of 60 years of the NHS has been accompanied by concerns about the sustainability of health care free at the point of use, faced with pressures from:

  • rising expectations of the population regarding the role that health care providers should play;
  • improvements in medicine, that make more treatments possible, but also increase the cost of treatments; and
  • an aging population, that increases the demand for care while reducing the proportion of the population paying through National Insurance contributions.

Key to discussions about the NHS has been the changes to the service during the 1990s. These changes aimed to improve transparency and patient choice within the service, primarily by requiring the NHS to focus on commissioning health care services on behalf of the population. More recently, debates on meeting the costs of long-term health care, and comparison with health systems in Europe and elsewhere, have suggested other models of funding, such as selective charging or a personal health insurance scheme.  

PDF files

The links below are to Adobe PDF files. Accessibility solutions and free Reader software are available from Adobe.