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NHS Budget Statistics — How Trusts Are Spending Their Current Budgets

7 minute read | 14/12/2022

NHS Budget Statistics — How Trusts Are Spending Their Current Budgets

The NHS budget in England will rise to more than £157 billion in 2023. However, with an ever-growing waiting list for treatment, looming price increases for medicine and a need for the industry to invest in more digital infrastructure — many Trusts are unsure where to allocate spending. 

This article takes a detailed look at how organisations around the UK are currently spending their budgets. We'll also explore essential trends for the future and guide you on how you can drive efficiencies that are more likely to have a greater impact in the future.


The total expenditure on medicines in England by the NHS in 2020/21 was estimated to be £16.7 billion, an increase of 4.56% compared to 2019/20.

This spend was split into four main areas, including:

£9.42 billion was issued in primary care and dispensed in the community.

  • £7.59 billion was issued in hospitals.
  • £87.9 million was prescribed in hospitals and dispensed in the community.
  • £24.3 million was prescribed by dentists and dispensed in the community.

Atorvastatin was the most dispensed drug in England in 2020/21, with 49.9 million items, while Apixaban had the highest cost of £356 million.

Staffing Costs

In 2019/20, the total cost of NHS staff was £56.1 million, which amounted to 46% of their total budget. However, at least 177 NHS organisations are set to be impacted in the near future over disputes regarding pay.

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be hit when nurses take to the picket lines following an unprecedented vote in the aim to increase their salaries.
To resolve the issue, NHS Trusts will have to increase their salary budget as we look toward the future. This means that they will have to cut costs in other areas of their operation.

There are many ways that NHS Trusts can begin cutting costs to free up more budget. One way is by implementing a patient education system. Find out more about how these work and how they can help your Trust cut costs here.


Staff Wellbeing

New research suggests that poor mental health and wellbeing costs the NHS an estimated £12.1 billion annually. This is due to chronic staff shortages, poor staff retention and record patient waiting lists. 

With this in mind, Trusts around the UK are spending portions of their budgets on initiatives focused on improving social support, automating processes and providing more virtual working.

There’s no doubt technology has a pivotal role to play here. That’s why our solution exists. We’re committed to helping the NHS achieve its goal of improving staff retention by 2% come 2025. 

Learn more about our state-of-the-art technology and the benefits it can offer your employees below.

Explore the benefits of SPARK Media


Going Paperless

The NHS received an extra £6 billion investment to improve digital tech in hospitals in October 2021 — but how are Trusts across the UK spending this money?

One of the critical areas in which Trusts are focusing their efforts is to remove the use of paper medical records in clinical practice. For this to happen, Trusts must transition to a computer-based system as quickly as possible. 

However, a recent study found that 50% of the 219 Trusts in England are yet to transition to computer-based systems. To address the issue, IT departments are being allocated increased budgets to trial clinical ERP systems designed to hold structured clinical data.


Enhancing Patient Experience and Access to Care

Many patient-facing interfaces and applications often remain slow, clunky and outdated. This has led many Trusts to fail in achieving their patient satisfaction goals.

Trusts are ramping up their spending on digital services to increase transparency and innovation. Some examples of initiatives Trusts are spending their current budget on include digital front doors.

These solutions aim to provide access to online consultations, self-booking portals, digital forms and multi-channel communications. They also offer patients opportunities to become better educated on their conditions, all of which enhance the patient experience and provide better access to care.


Clinical Research

The loss of commercial research across NHS Trusts during the pandemic is estimated to have generated a deficit of up to £447 million in 2020/21.

However, in 2020/21, 1,390,483 people participated in clinical research across England — almost double the number in 2019/20.

These figures suggest Trusts are beginning to increase their spending in primary and secondary care settings. Some of the areas this budget is being allocated in particular include:

  • Developing and putting into practice standardised approaches and guidance for innovative design and delivery of trials.
  • Deliver training on innovative design and delivery approaches for ethics committees, regulators and researchers involved in trial design and delivery teams.
  • Ensuring digital tools are available to support remote monitoring and virtual trial delivery.


These are just some examples of areas NHS Trusts are spending their current budget. You can receive an in-depth analysis of NHS and social funding and how it’s changed over time here

We’re also hosting an exciting webinar in February 2023 that looks at NHS budget spending in more detail. The webinar will also focus on other areas, including the future of patient experience and how your Trust can innovate using cutting-edge technology.

Reducing Patient Numbers

A third of NHS capacity is taken up by bed blockers at some of the UK’s busiest Trusts. These numbers of are contributing to long A&E and ambulance wait times, and the ever-growing care backlog.

Investing in the right technology has a key role to play in reducing patient numbers and freeing up more beds for those who need them. This is because technology allows Doctors and Nurses to retrieve patient records, documents and data instantly through clinical integration to make quicker decisions and provide improved care to patients.

Administrators can also use the platform to purchase, track and monitor key resources such as medical equipment, and can easily see and log where equipment is being used throughout the hospital.

Let’s Look at the Future of the Healthcare Industry, Together

Looking for guidance on how to spend your budget? Want to know more about the role of technology and how it can help you achieve your goals? Our webinar will cover everything you need to know so you’re prepared to take positive steps in 2023 and beyond.

To secure your place, click below.

Book Your Spot

75% of patients want digital healthcare services

So let’s work together to give it to them, all while optimising NHS processes.

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