The King's Fund responds to National Audit Office report on NHS hospital productivity

Commenting on today's National Audit Office report on NHS hospital productivity, Professor John Appleby, chief economist at The King's Fund said:

'Today's report highlights once again the scale of the productivity challenge facing the NHS. Despite some welcome announcements from the government this week, there is no doubt that the structural changes to the NHS will distract attention from this essential task.

'But this is not a counsel of despair. As the report points out, there are significant opportunities for the NHS to improve productivity, especially by reducing variations in clinical performance between front line teams delivering health care. With evidence emerging that some services are already being restricted, an intelligent approach is needed that focuses on these opportunities. This will take time to implement and the financial squeeze is already severe, but it is vital to avoid a 'slash and burn' approach.'

Notes to editors: 

  1. Earlier this year, The King’s Fund published Improving NHS productivity: More with the same not more of the same, a paper which quantified the productivity challenge facing the NHS and identified measures it can take to improve productivity.
  2. For further information, or to request an interviewee, please contact The King’s Fund’s press and public affairs office on 020 7307 2585. Out of hours, please ring 07584 146 035.
    (To contact the NAO press office regarding their report, please call Sarah Farndale on 020 7798 5350.)
  3. The King's Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.