New data released by the Office for National Statistics has revealed that NHS productivity for the financial year ending 2017 grew by three per cent in England, dramatically outstripping productivity growth of 0.8 per cent in the rest of the economy.

Actions taken by the NHS to improve efficiency included introducing a cost-per-hour cap on agency staff from November 2015, saving up to £200m a year by curbing prescribing of medicines that have little or no benefit, and replacing 17 procedures with less invasive, safer treatments.

The savings and productivity improvements are expected to continue with the implementation of the newly announced NHS long term plan, which will deliver annual efficiency savings equivalent to around £1bn in extra investment each year.

Health service productivity in England also outpaced that achieved in health services elsewhere in the UK, with a combined UK health service figure of 2.5 per cent in 2016.

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