NHS staff praised as health service productivity outstrips the rest of the economy

NHS staff boosted productivity by 3% in a single year, dramatically outstripping productivity growth in the rest of the economy new figures have revealed | NHS England

Data released  by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown that NHS productivity for the financial year ending 2017 grew by 3% in England, more than treble the 0.8% achieved across wider the UK economy in 2016/17.

Health service productivity in England also outpaced that achieved in health services elsewhere in the UK, with a combined UK health service figure of 2.5% in 2016.

Action taken to improve efficiency by NHS England and NHS Improvement includes:

  • The introduction of a cost-per-hour cap on agency staff from November 2015
  • Curbing prescribing of medicines that have little or no benefit saving up to £200 million a year
  • Stopping the routine commissioning of 17 procedures where less invasive, safer treatments are available and just as effective, saving an estimated £200 million a year

Full story at NHS England


Improving NHS efficiency

This report by NHS Providers says trusts recognise their responsibility to maximise efficiency but a different approach will now be needed

This report says the current method of driving efficiency in the health service – setting an over ambitious, top level target and reducing the real terms prices trusts are paid for the care they provide, in the hope they will find further savings – is no longer sustainable.

The report says the forthcoming NHS long term plan, backed by the new funding settlement, can provide a vision for a transformed and sustainable NHS.

However the success of that plan will depend on the ability of the health service to deliver stretching levels of efficiency.

The report sets out in detail how trusts have risen to the challenge of improving efficiency in recent years. It also presents trust leaders’ views on where further opportunities lie, the main barriers to progress, and the support they need to make the extra funding for the NHS go further.

Full report: Making the most of the money – efficiency and the long term plan

Related: Improving NHS efficiency – a different approach is needed | NHS Providers

Long-term sustainability of the NHS and social care

Government response to the report on long-term sustainability of the NHS and adult social care | The Department of Health and Social Care  

This paper responds to the Lords Select Committee report stating that significant efficiencies will be needed to make the NHS and social care system sustainable for the long term.

The original report made 34 recommendations in the areas of:

  • service transformation
  • funding the NHS and adult social care
  • innovation technology and productivity
  • public health, prevention and patient responsibility
  • lasting political consensus


Full document: Government response to the Lords Select Committee report on Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS and Adult Social Care| The Department of Health and Social Care


Does hospital competition improve efficiency?

Does hospital competition improve efficiency? The effect of the patient choice reform in England | The Centre for Health Economics

This report examines whether the introduction of patient choice of hospital has resulted in greater efficiency by stimulating hospital competition.  The results show that competition has had mixed effects on efficiency.  Greater competition encourages hospitals to increase efficiency by increasing admissions per bed and proportion of day cases, and by reducing the proportion of untouched meals.  However, hospitals appear less efficient in terms of cancelled elective operations.

Full report: Does Hospital Competition Improve Efficiency? The Effect of the Patient Choice Reform in England



‘Data revolution’ crucial to transformation

A ‘data revolution’ across health and care services in England is vital if local areas are to transform the way care is delivered | NHS Confederation

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The NHS Confederation has launched a new series of guides to help board members to better understand data across the healthcare system and its role in transforming care.

Produced in association with healthcare intelligence provider CHKS, the guides for non-executive directors (NEDs) aim to kick start a ‘data revolution’ by looking at how data can be used to drive improvement, provide effective oversight and support the transformation of care. The first guide is aimed at NEDs in acute care, and examines activity in both primary and secondary care settings and considers the role of data sharing in bringing about efficiency savings.

Full document: The non-executive director’s guide to NHS data. Part one: Hospital activity, data sets and performance


NHS efficiency map: updates

The HFMA and NHS Improvement have worked in partnership to update and revise the NHS efficiency map.

Image source: HFMA

The map is a tool that promotes best practice in identifying, delivering and monitoring cost improvement programmes (CIPs) in the NHS. The map contains links to a range of tools and guidance to help NHS bodies improve their efficiency.

The national focus on improving efficiency and productivity will mean taking local action to deliver savings remains a priority for all NHS organisations. Aimed at NHS finance directors and their teams and other NHS staff with an interest in the delivery of CIPs, the purpose of the NHS efficiency map is to highlight existing resources on eliminating waste, increasing efficiency and at the same time improving quality and safety.

The map is split into three sections: enablers for efficiency, provider efficiency and system efficiency. The map highlights the successes some NHS providers have had in delivering specific efficiency schemes and provides sign-posts to existing tools and reference materials. It also includes updated definitions for different types of efficiency.

The map will be updated as new tools and case studies are produced.

The case studies produced to date are: