Productivity in healthcare fell by 3.3 per cent between 1995 and 2008, according to figures out today.

The data, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), found a mismatch between inputs and outputs, leading to an annual productivity fall of 0.3% on average.

This means there was a drop in the amount of NHS activity for every pound spent on publicly funded healthcare, mainly the NHS.

Inputs refer to the volume of goods and services, including clinical supplies, and spend on staff including nurses, doctors and support workers. Healthcare inputs grew by 75%, averaging 4.4% growth a year, the ONS data showed.

But healthcare output grew by just 69% overall, averaging 4.1% growth a year.

From 1995 to 2001, productivity was broadly stable as output and inputs grew at a similar pace, the ONS said.

But from 2001 to 2008 productivity declined as inputs grew more quickly than outputs every year except 2005 and 2006.

Productivity in 2008 is estimated to have fallen by 0.7%, compared with a fall of 0.3% in 2007.