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NHS productivity has increased, new research shows

The NHS produced ‘strong productivity growth’ in England during first year of the coalition Government, new figures reveal.

The figures show that NHS productivity increased by 3.2% between 2009/10 and 2010/11, largely due to a reduction in staff whilst maintaining levels of activity.

Researchers at the Centre for Health Economics, University of York, showed NHS productivity has increased by a total of 8% since 2004/5. Since then, the NHS in England has seen yearly increases in the numbers of patients receiving treatment, continued improvements in 30-day survival rates and staff numbers increasing by almost 11%.

Professor Andrew Street, from the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York, said: ‘2010/11 was the first year in which the scale of the “Nicholson challenge” for 2011/12 to 2014/15 was made known to the NHS, with productivity improvements seen as key in delivering savings.

‘The evidence suggests strong productivity growth between 2009/10 and 2010/11, driven mainly by increased labour productivity.’

Health minister Lord Howe said: ‘NHS staff have risen to the challenge and worked hard to deliver this impressive improvement in productivity.

‘It is testament to their commitment to patient care and a demonstration of the savings that can be achieved. However we must not be complacent and the NHS will need to ensure it is getting value for money from every pound it spends.’