The anatomy of health spending 2011/12: a review of NHS expenditure and labour productivity

Using accounts data from 2003/04 to 2011/12 for commissioning and provider bodies across the English NHS, this report analyses the history and drivers of labour productivity in NHS trusts.


Published: 05/03/2013

ISBN: 978-1-905030-61-3

Download the report [PDF 808.8KB]

In this audio slideshow, Nuffield Trust Chief Economist Anita Charlesworth outlines patterns of NHS spending from 2003 to 2012

Understanding how NHS organisations manage their financial performance is critical.

The unprecedented financial challenge – and the difficult decisions facing health and social care services in England – make it more important than ever to understand how the NHS spends money, and to identify areas of success and failure in financial performance.

This report is based on accounts data for 2003/04 to 2011/12. At the time of publication, data from the latest audited accounts was included.

The analysis is notable for providing a clearer picture of NHS hospital labour productivity and the spread of NHS spending across the GP, community-based and acute trust sectors. It also identifies the hospitals with the largest deficits.

We will overlook opportunities to meet the efficiency challenge unless we pay close attention to where and how the NHS spends money, and what we get for it Anita Charlesworth, report co-author and Nuffield Trust Chief Economist

The report is the first in an annual series, and forms part of an ongoing Nuffield Trust research programme.

Drawing on the accounts data of all commissioning and provider bodies across the English NHS, the programme will provide detailed annual analysis of financial performance across acute hospitals (both NHS and foundation trusts), other providers, as well as commissioning bodies.

The programme, supported by PwC and McKesson, aims to establish the Nuffield Trust as a centre of expertise in the analysis of spending and productivity.

Further outputs from the programme are due for publication later in 2013. If you would like to receive updates on the project, including when new research is published, sign up for our email alerts on NHS efficiency and productivity.

Suggested citation

Jones N and Charlesworth A (2013) The anatomy of health spending 2011/12: a review of NHS expenditure and labour productivity. Research report. Nuffield Trust.