CHE wins grant from Health Foundation to examine efficiency, cost and quality of mental healthcare provision

Posted on 15 June 2017

CHE has been selected by the Health Foundation, an independent health care charity, to be part of its £1.5 million Efficiency Research Programme focussing on efficiency, cost and quality of mental healthcare provision.

The Health Foundation

The project, run by the Universities of York, Birmingham and Sheffield will use a quality of life framework to assess cost-effectiveness of mental health trusts and how they vary on cost and quality. It will assess organisational factors which drive improvements in cost and quality of mental healthcare and analyse how mental health trusts can reallocate resources in order to improve their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

Mental illness has a significant impact on individuals, society and the economy. The mental healthcare sector is under huge financial pressure and providers are undertaking large-scale cost reduction programmes. Service reconfigurations are impacting negatively on quality of care for patients and there is little understanding of how providers can reallocate resources to increase efficiency. 

This Efficiency Research project led by the University of York will look at the efficiency, cost and quality of current mental healthcare provision, and how changes can be made to drive efficiency improvements. 

Using a number of research methods – including analysing large linked national datasets, surveys, focus groups and interviews – the team will assess which quality indicators are valued by service users and clinicians, for example improvements in outcomes, better and more equitable access to care, and distance to provider. 

They will then derive QALY (quality-adjusted life year) weightings for these different aspects in order to assess efficiency, using a QALY framework. They will then be able to produce a cost-effectiveness plane for mental health trusts to identify high-quality, low-cost providers and further examine organisational factors that are associated with cost-effectiveness. 

The researchers hope to then estimate how resources can be reallocated to activities where they are more cost-effective, and what input-mix (e.g. capital, labour) might be associated with improved cost-effectiveness. 

Health Foundation press release and further project details

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