Efficiency and productivity of the health and social care system A long-term, continuous focus on efficiency and productivity is essential to ensure health care quality


Efficiency – also described as allocative efficiency – means the best possible use of available funding in order to resource. Improved productivity is improving the quantity or quality of health outcomes with the same amount and type of resource (staff, hospitals and medical technology).

Despite the challenges it is facing, NHS productivity has increased at a higher rate than that of the wider UK economy. But, in the face of high projected spending growth and restricted funding, further increases in productivity are still required for a sustainable health and social care system.

Urgent need to address systematic failings and stabilise the social care sector in England

Press release
30 August 2019

Health Foundation response to Age UK report, ‘The Health and Care of Older People in England 2019’.

Watch: capital spending on health care in England explained

7 March 2019

Watch our short video explaining capital spending on health care in England, including what it is and why it matters for the future.

How has the productivity of UK health care changed between 1997 and 2016?

29 January 2019

January 2019 Chart of the Month. Between 1997 and 2016, productivity across the UK NHS grew by 20%, at an average of around 1% per year.

Budget 2018: what it means for health and social care

November 2018

This joint briefing with the Health Foundation, The King's Fund and Nuffield Trust looks at the detail within the 2018 Budget.

REAL Centre (Research and Economic Analysis for the Long term)

18 October 2018

The Health Foundation is establishing the Research and Economic Analysis for the Long term (REAL) Centre to provide new evidence and analysis that will help health and social care policymakers conside...

A new frontier

24 September 2018

Anita Charlesworth blogs about the establishment of a new centre to provide independent projections, research and analysis to help ensure the long-term sustainability of health and social care in the ...

How has the productivity of UK health care changed between 1997 and 2015?

27 April 2018

April 2018 Chart of the Month. Between 1997 and 2015, productivity across the UK NHS grew by 16%, at an average of around 1% per year.

Providing clear insight into patients’ clinical and social care needs using combined hospital datasets

Improvement project

Aiming to streamline the non-elective patient pathway to improve health and social outcomes.

Allocative efficiency in end-of-life care

Research project

This project will look at whether improvements in the efficiency of health and social care delivery at the end of life could enable access to higher-quality and more personalised care for patients.

WORKTECC: Workforce Operations that Realise Knowledge-based Transformational Efficiency gains in Community Care

Research project

This round two Efficiency Research project will explore whether workforce operations used by other industries can improve the efficiency of home-based NHS care, and if so, how.

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