NHS waiting lists could top 15 million in four years without major rise in capacity

Overspend of at least £5bn likely, says Nuffield Trust – but cabinet is deeply split over size of future funding settlement

The waiting list for NHS care in England could rise to 15 million people in the next four years without a significant increase in its current capacity, ministers are warned, amid a cabinet clash over the service’s future funding.

With senior figures inside the health service warning there is currently “a chasm” between the NHS and the Treasury over the financial settlement now needed, exclusive analysis seen by the Observer shows that NHS trusts in England are on course to spend almost £5bn more next financial year than was anticipated when Theresa May set the service’s funding levels in 2018.

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