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.

Efficiency, cost and quality of mental health care provision

Research project

This project will look at the efficiency, cost and quality of current mental health care provision, and how changes can be made to drive efficiency improvements.

Provision of community care: who, what, how much?

May 2017

This briefing analyses information on the community care contracts held by 78% of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England to enable better understanding of the provision of these services.

Funding drugs and other health technologies

Consultation response
January 2017

Our response to NICE and NHS England’s consultation on changes to the arrangements for funding drugs and other health technologies through NICE’s technology appraisal and highly specialised technologi...

The long-term sustainability of the NHS

Consultation response
December 2016

Evidence submitted by the Health Foundation to the House of Lords Liaison Committee exploring the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

Sustainability and financial performance of acute hospitals in England

Consultation response
December 2016

Our submission to the Public Accounts Committee's inquiry on sustainability and financial performance of acute hospitals in England. 

Fiscal sustainability of the NHS in Wales

Research project

This project will provide medium- and long-term projections of spending pressures facing the NHS in Wales, identifying the key risks to long-term fiscal sustainability of the health care system. The w...

Funding options for the NHS and social care in the UK

Research project

Research into health and social care funding trends, innovations, and public acceptability. Led by RAND Europe.

OpenPrescribing: using GP prescriptions data to reduce wasteful prescribing

Research project

The project team is drawing on behavioural insights to design a range of approaches for encouraging GPs and practice managers to engage with the prescriptions data available on the OpenPrescribing web...

Environmental engineering to increase hand hygiene compliance

Research project

Examining how simple changes in the hand washing areas of hospital wards can subconscious influence people to follow good hand hygiene practice. The study will test the effect that two triggers – a sm...

Does feedback on cost or radiation dose for common diagnostic tests modify demand in a busy district general hospital?

Research project

The research will also explore whether providing information about radiation exposure from CT scans and the associated increase in cancer risk encourages clinicians to use safer alternatives. 

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