The proportion of NHS funding spent on hospital care increased in 2012-13, with general practice slightly reducing its share, official figures obtained by HSJ indicate.

Spending on GP services in 2012-13 was £7.8bn, a 1 per cent increase on 2011-12. However, overall spending on healthcare by primary care trusts increased by 2.7 per cent, to £91.7bn.

Therefore the proportion of total healthcare spending going to general practice reduced from 8.7 per cent to 8.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, the proportion spent on hospital care – general, acute, accident and emergency and maternity services – increased by 3.7 per cent to £46.8bn. Its proportion of total healthcare spending increased from 50.6 per cent to 51 per cent.

The accounting figures were reported by PCTs and compiled by the Department of Health and released to HSJ on request. There is some doubt about their accuracy due to reporting variation, but they are the main official source of spending analysis by sector.

The largest proportionate increase was in community services, which increased by 6.9 per cent to £9.7bn. In 2012-13 it accounted for 10.6 per cent of healthcare spend, up from 10.2 per cent.

The biggest drop in funding appears to be on prescribing drugs. Spending in this category fell by £353.8m, or 4.3 per cent, to £7.9bn.

The changes in 2012-13 generally continue trends seen in recent years. They suggest the NHS is continuing to struggle to disinvest in hospitals and move funding to general practice.


 SpendSpend as a proportion of total health spendSpendSpend as a proportion of total health spend
Hospitals (general and acute, A&E and maternity)£45.2bn50.6%£46.8bn51.0%
Mental health and learning disabilities£10bn11.2%£10.2bn11.1%
Community health services£9.1bn10.2%£9.7bn10.6%
Prescribing costs£8.2bn9.2%£7.9bn8.6%
General practice£7.8bn8.7%£7.8bn8.6%
Primary pharmacy and opthalmic£5.6bn6.3%£5.7bn6.2%
Spending is as reported by primary care trusts. Source: DH. See attached.