How is the NHS in England currently funded?

The NHS is funded mainly through general taxation supplemented by National Insurance contributions.

While the NHS is generally described as being ‘free at the point of use’, patients have been required to contribute towards the cost of some services (eg, prescriptions and dental treatment) since 1951. Exemption arrangements are in place that cover many patients, including those aged under 16 or 60 and over, as well as recipients of specific state benefits. The exemptions in place resulted in 90 per cent of all prescription items in England being dispensed free of charge last year (Health and Social Care Information Centre 2016).

NHS England

The relative contribution from each of these sources of finance – general taxation, National Insurance and user charges – has fluctuated over the years (see Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England 2014b). For example, the proportion of income from user charges, from a high of 5 per cent in 1960 remained at 1.2 per cent between 2007 and 2011 (Hawe and Cockcroft 2013).

Across the UK, private health insurance policies are held by 10.6 per cent of the population. Most of these are corporate subscriptions, offered to employees as part of their overall remuneration package (LaingBuisson 2017).

More detail on specific funding

Source: Helen McKenna, Phoebe Dunn, Emily Northern,
Tom Buckley – The Kings Fund

Help from Home Improvement Agencies

If you are struggling to keep warm in your own home and it’s affecting your health and wellbeing, don’t suffer in silence.

Help is available via the Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT) which delivers grants through its network of handyperson and home improvement agencies (HIA) in England.

FILT programmes fund life-changing interventions to make homes more energy efficient and/or easier to keep warm. Plus, the charity also provides grants to improve the safety of gas work and appliances in the home.

Elderly Man

Measures range from draught proofing and fitting reflector radiator panels to replacement of boilers and central heating systems.

Grants

Grants are currently available via the following funds:

npower Health Through Warmth (HTW) Crisis Fund

HTW offers help to people in England who have long-term illnesses and are finding it hard to fund heating and insulation measures in their homes.

Who qualifies for help?

People with long-term illness who own and occupy their own home, who also have a low income and little or no savings (which are assessed) and cannot fully fund the work themselves.

Grant recipients don’t have to be or become an npower customer, to receive help.

Gas Safe Charity

FILT works with Gas Safe to provide preventative services that directly address the risks of death, injuries and illness caused by dangerous gas work and appliances.

The following types of essential minor work may be carried out using the Grant Scheme funding:

  • Gas Safety Checks
  • Gas Servicing
  • Gas Boiler Repairs
  • Gas Boiler Replacements
  • Gas Boiler Combustion Analysis
  • Gas Cookers
  • Fires
  • Gas Pipework
  • Gas Meters
  • Water Heaters.
Who qualifies for help?
  • Home owners who are 60 years of age or over and who receive means tested benefit
  • Home owners who are 60 years of age or over and who receive state pension only (with no other income)
  • Home owners who are 60 years of age or over who are disabled
  • Home owners who are 18 years of age or over who are disabled

Please note that the maximum grant paid from this fund is £500 per home.

People helped by Home Improvement Agencies

Mr W is 80 years of age and lived alone. He had recently undergone surgery to have a pacemaker fitted and his mobility was poor.

The HIA was contacted as his 40-year-old boiler had broken down and Mr W only had one small electric fire to keep him warm.

“We contacted the local borough council to assist with heating repairs. The council advised they could contribute towards a replacement boiler and it was arranged that we would try to raise as much funds as possible and the council would make up the shortfall.

“We were able to utilise funding from the Gas Safe Charity scheme, Home Warmth for the Aged Benevolent Fund, an anonymous charity and npower Health Through Warmth Hardship Fund administered through Foundations Independent Living Trust. In total, an amount of £1,800 was raised and the Borough Council made up the shortfall of £1,600.”

The new boiler was fitted quickly and Mr W was able to convalesce in the warmth of his home.

You can read other people’s stories of getting help from Home Improvement Agencies on the FILT website

How to get help

If you’re at risk of fuel poverty or are concerned about gas safety in your home, please contact your local home improvement agency (HIA) who can apply for the funding on your behalf.

Find your local home improvement agency

You can also call 0300 124 0315.

If you live in other parts of the UK

Northern Ireland

Home Improvement Agencies can be accessed via the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in Northern Ireland.

Scotland

There are several Home Improvement Agencies in Scotland. See the Care and Repair Scotland website for more information.

Wales

Care and Repair Cymru provides Home Improvement Agency services for people living in Wales.

Source: Turn2Us