This project is under way, and will run until October 2022.

  • Led by the Office of Health Economics in collaboration with the University of Oxford.
  • Aiming to define an accurate measure of labour productivity in primary care and to identify its determinants, including workforce skill mix, technology and patient characteristics.
  • Findings from this project will inform improvements in performance and analysis of primary care productivity in England.

Each year there are approximately 300 million NHS primary care consultations. The number of patients each GP is responsible for has increased over the past decade, along with the number and complexity of consultations.

Despite recent investment announcements and the recruitment of additional medical workforce in primary care, it is important that there is continual improvement in general practice efficiency, to prevent the growing population and increasingly complex and multi-morbid patients eroding this investment.

Areas identified for improvement include the greater use of technology, optimising staffing skill mix and the greater use of role substitution. However, there are currently few evidence-based recommendations for the targets to achieve in these areas.

This Efficiency Research project aims to improve understanding of the measurement and determinants of primary care labour productivity. The project team will use routinely collected data from English GP practices to produce and measure an accurate definition of primary care labour productivity, and examine factors that affect its variability and determinants, such as staffing levels and skill mix, technology and patient population.

At the end of the project, a set of valuable evidence-based recommendations for improving labour productivity in primary care will be produced. These will be of interest to a range of audiences, including policy-makers, health care professionals, commissioners, researchers and patients.

Reproducible algorithms for routine measurement of productivity by all primary care data holders will also be developed and could potentially be implemented by GP practices across the UK.

Contact details

For more information about this project, please contact Graham Cookson, Chief Executive, Office of Health Economics, London.

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