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

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

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

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 per cent, averaging 4.4 per cent growth a year, the ONS data showed.

But healthcare output grew by just 69 per cent overall, averaging 4.1 per cent 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 per cent, compared with a fall of 0.3 per cent in 2007.

Health minister Mike O’Brien said: “In 1997, the NHS was severely understaffed and underfunded. We have had to address this understaffing and that has affected productivity.”

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Staff across the NHS and the public know that too much money in the NHS has been wasted, that there is too much bureaucracy and the resources have not got to the front line.

“The Conservatives will not only protect the NHS budget but will ensure that resources actually get to the front line. We will focus spending on improving results for patients.”