Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: Unproductive activity and NHS consultants

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 06 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2693
  1. David Oliver, consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicine
  1. Berkshire
  1. davidoliver372{at}

With constrained public money, a growing focus arises on doctors’ key role in reducing variation in processes and outcomes and improving value in healthcare, especially how money is spent and what it delivers in outcomes that matter to patients and system efficiencies.

Earlier this year John Appleby published an analysis in The BMJ comparing current and historical productivity of NHS consultants.1 The headline figures suggest that today’s consultants are less productive than their predecessors in crude terms of “volume of output versus unit of input,” with consultant expansion unmatched by the more slowly rising volume of …

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