Health outcomes in Scotland have not improved as much as expected, despite higher staffing and spending per patient than in England, a study has found.

Almost £2,000 is spent per head of the Scottish population, while in England the corresponding level is around £250 less, according to the think tank Centre for Public Policy for Regions and auditors KPMG.

The report’s authors said they welcomed reductions in cancer, heart disease and stroke death rates in Scotland but said the improvements had not been as great as expected.

“Our research has shown that while health spending and staffing levels per head in Scotland appear to be greater than in England, we are not experiencing the improved health outcomes that might have been hoped would have followed,” CPPR’s John McLaren said.

“This could be due to worsening needs in Scotland relative to England, for example due to differing behavioural patterns, but at present it is difficult to convert any such higher needs into extra costs.”

The report added that a new regulatory body needs to investigate why Scotland has a 30% higher level of staffing than elsewhere.

But the Scottish government said sections of the report are “ill-informed”, although it agreed that health is not improving quickly enough.

Life expectancy improvements in Scotland did not match those in England, the report said, adding that although smoking rates have fallen, the number of people who smoke in Scotland is higher than in the rest of the UK. Alcohol-related death rates are more than double that of England’s.