NHS detractors warn that the service is a “bottomless pit”, yet all it needs is roughly the EU average, and for spending to rise with living standards.

In the winter crisis of 2000, Tony Blair promised to bring the UK up to the EU average – and Labour did. Its 7% rises saw the service measurably improve. But the NHS only reached that EU average briefly, before plunging down again.

The government hasn’t lied, or not quite. NHS funds have grown annually, but at just 0.9% a year for 10 years to 2020. It has never had so little. Since 1948 it has had an average 4% more a year, as numbers of the old rise, and expensive new technology and drugs save extra lives. MORE

Liverpool women's hospital

Liverpool Women’s Hospital

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