NHS Confederation responds to NHS England's Board Paper on health service productivity

Dr Layla McCay responds to NHS England's Board Paper on health service productivity

16 May 2024

Responding to NHS England's board paper on NHS productivity, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said:

“Health leaders recognise they have an important role to make the best of the resources they are given and to run their services as efficiently and safely as possible.

“It is encouraging that this paper shows that the NHS is making significant progress in these efforts, particularly following the seismic shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic and industrial action. The strikes alone have been estimated to have cost the NHS at least £3 billion so far, yet productivity across hospitals is 5.8% higher than in 2022/23 and spending on agency staff has reduced by 13%.

“Clearly the NHS has further progress to make and health leaders are fully committed to that. However, this will forever be a challenge if the government does not wake up to the scale of the population’s health problems and the capital investment that is desperately needed to truly modernise and transform what the health service can offer its patients.

“NHS England’s paper says that failures to invest in the NHS’s ageing estate is resulting in lost clinical time and that 12,000 instances have been reported over the last two years which have stopped clinical services from being delivered to patients. With the waiting times as high as they are, it is no wonder that frontline staff can often feel as though they are responding with one arm tied behind their back.

“This is exactly why we are calling on the next government to put the NHS on a more sustainable footing, including by increasing capital spending to at least £14.1 billion annually and to commit to fund and deliver the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, alongside an equivalent plan for social care.”