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Social Policy in a Cold ClimatePolicies and their Consequences Since the Crisis$
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Ruth Lupton, Tania Burchardt, John Hills, Kitty Stewart, and Polly Vizard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447327714

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447327714.001.0001

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(p.147) Eight Health
Social Policy in a Cold Climate

Polly Vizard

Polina Obolenskaya

Emily Jones

Policy Press

This chapter examines health spending, outputs and outcomes in England in the aftermath of the 2007 financial crisis, covering the 2007-2010 Labour administration under Gordon Brown, and the Coalition Government 2010-2015. It shows that despite the relative protection of the health budget compared to other expenditure areas during the Coalition’s period in power, the growth of real resources in health was exceptionally low compared to historical trends, and lagged behind rates that are widely deemed necessary to maintain and extend NHS care in response to increasing need and demand. The Coalition embarked on major organisational changes and whilst early data suggests increases in productivity, signs of pressure on the healthcare system were mounting by May 2015. There were adverse trends in suicide and mental health in the period following the crisis and downturn, and health inequalities remained stark. With the resources squeeze projected to continue into the upcoming period, the chapter concludes that there are major financing, policy and political challenges ahead.

Keywords:   healthcare, Health and Social Care Act 2012, health outcomes, health inequalities

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