Efficiency and productivity A long-term, continuous focus on efficiency and productivity is essential to ensure health care quality


The sustainability of the NHS and social care system is likely to become an even bigger issue in coming years, given funding constraints, increasing demand, workforce shortages and variation in the quality and productivity of care.

Our work on efficiency and productivity aims to help NHS and social care services to become more sustainable. We look at whether health care resources are being used to get the best value for money, and identify ways that productivity of services and workforce can be improved.

Our recent work and content on this topic is listed below.

How many hospital beds will the NHS need over the coming decade?

July 2022

In the REAL Centre's latest analysis, we review past trends and set out our projections for the number of general and acute hospital beds required in England between 2018 and 2030.

New analysis reveals future NHS beds shortage

Press release
13 July 2022

With England having fewer beds per person than comparable countries, new analysis raises big questions for incoming government over where investment should go to alleviate pressures in hospitals.

A quarter of GP and general practice nursing posts could be vacant in 10 years

Press release
25 July 2022

Analysis from the Health Foundation’s REAL Centre warns that without urgent, significant policy action, the NHS in England is facing a crippling shortage of GPs and general practice nurses over the co...

Primary care and cancer

Journal article
22 March 2022

COVID-19 and effects on patient pathways in cancer treatment.

Why is the NHS really under 'record pressure'?

12 March 2022

NHS performance data tell a clear story of rising pressures, with longer waits and other red flags of declining performance. But do we really understand the reasons why?  

Enabling service transformation in practice: reflections on the Wade-Gery review

3 December 2021

Will the Wade-Gery review enable the NHS to make a leap forwards on tech and data? Tim Horton reflects on what matters for enabling service transformation in practice.

Five things we learned from our work on NHS productivity

Newsletter feature
28 October 2021

Maximising productivity is critical if the NHS is to survive the pressures it faces. But what does that mean in practice? 

Webinar: NHS recovery – how do we ‘build back better’?

21 October 2021
Thursday 21 October 2021, 9.00–10.15

A panel discussion exploring the extent of the backlog facing the NHS in the recovery period and how we should approach it to avoid mistakes of the past, maximise opportunities and ‘build back better’...

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Health Foundation response to the Health and Social Care Secretary’s speech at the Conservative conference

Press release
5 October 2021

The Health Foundation's response to the Health and Social Care Secretary’s speech at the Conservative party conference.

A complex patchwork of programmes

4 October 2021

The Health Foundation’s Improvement team share some findings from their mapping of the health care technology and innovation landscape.

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