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England’s NHS is struggling to boost productivity despite drive for efficiency, finds analysis

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 05 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1465
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

Doctors may be the key factor to increasing productivity in the health service, shows an analysis that found that NHS activity in England was “stubbornly stagnant” last year.

The analysis, by the Nuffield Trust, an independent health policy think tank, found that activity at hospital trusts in England fell by 1% in 2011-12 after increasing by 4.8% a year between 2006-7 and 2010-11.1

But an in-depth look at the factors influencing England’s NHS output found that organisations with a higher proportion of doctors and other medical staff were associated with higher productivity.

The analysis also suggests that competition between NHS providers drives down productivity, raising questions about whether the coalition government’s changes to the NHS, which centre on increasing marketisation, will achieve what they set out to—deliver the health services needed to …

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