Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Productivity 'Falling 2% a Year'

Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Productivity 'Falling 2% a Year'

Article excerpt

NHS productivity is still falling by an average of 2% a year, despite the extra billions of pounds that have been pumped into the health service in recent years, official statistics have revealed.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics, published on January 29, show that from 2001 to 2005 the volume of activities, such as operations and GP consultations, has increased and the quality of care has improved by around 4% per year.

However, they have failed to keep pace with the increases in inputs - resources - which have grown by 6.5% a year over the same period.

In 2006, the most recent year for which figures are available, the decline in productivity slowed sharply to 0.2% as growth in staffing levels and pay fell back.

These productivity figures, which are based on a new methodology developed over the past two years, take account of improvements in service quality, such as whether patients get better more quickly. Without this being factored in, the ONS said, the fall in productivity between 2001 and 2005 would have averaged 2.5%.

The revised methodology also factors in improvements in how patients rate their experience. …

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