Prior to the 2002 Spending Review Derek Wanless was asked by the Chancellor of The Exchequer to assess the ‘financial and other resources required to ensure that the NHS can provide a publicly funded, comprehensive, high quality service on the basis of clinical need and not ability to pay.’ The resultant report on the future course of NHS spending was immensely important. Not only did it directly inform the Chancellor’s spending plans for the NHS for the next five years – which gave the NHS an unprecedented real increase of over 40% by 2007/8 – but it also laid out a framework for revisiting a fundamental public policy question: how much do we want to spend on health care?

As a contribution to future reviews and research in this area, a one day seminar organised by the Office of Health Economics, the King’s Fund and the Centre for Health Economics was held on 13 November 2002 to critically examine the assumptions, estimates and models underpinning the recommendations of Derek Wanless’ review. This book brings together the outcomes of the seminar.