The findings in the report are drawn from a survey of NHS trusts and structured in-depth interviews. 

The mixed methods approach included an online survey conducted by NHS Providers that was open for three weeks during August/September 2018. The survey was open to various executive director posts including chief executives, finance directors, HR directors, medical directors, nursing directors and chief operating officers.

There were 157 responses to the survey, from 122 NHS trusts. This constitutes 54% of the provider sector, and responses covered all types of NHS trust (acute, ambulance, community, mental health and learning disability, specialist and combined).

To explore the survey findings in more detail, we carried out interviews with 10 executive directors from a range of different types of trusts. In addition, we also interviewed eight professionals and experts working in areas related to NHS finance policy, drawn from various health bodies and think tanks.

To allow individuals to speak openly about the issue of efficiency in the NHS, the interviews were anonymous. Where we have included direct quotes we have given the job title and type of trust, as long as it did not identify the individual.