In Memory of Dr Stephen Martin

News | Posted on Tuesday 21 June 2022

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Dr Stephen Martin following a short illness.

Steve was a research fellow within the Department of Economics and Related Studies but had spent many years working with the community of applied economists at the University of York.  This included research in health economics in collaboration with a number of colleagues in the Centre for Health Economics. 

Steve Martin

Steve was an outstanding applied econometrician with a passion for working with large datasets and using them to address complex but important policy questions.  He began a long career at York in the early 1990s working in defence economics, including policy analysis of European armament collaboration and ethical arms trade. 

At this time Steve began his long association with health economics at York.  He was a key member of the team that undertook groundbreaking analysis leading to a fundamental and enduring change to the way that NHS funds are distributed to local budget holders, based on the principal of equal opportunity of access for equal need. This important and evolving area of NHS policy is something Steve returned to on numerous occasions during his time at York.

Steve also developed a long-term interest in the analysis of waiting times in the UK NHS.  This included methods research on statistical modelling approaches, demand and supply responses to waiting times, and as well as the analysis of the impact of policy responses such as enhancing patient choice and additional funding.  This research broadened into work on the measurement of outputs, costs and productivity in health systems.       

More recently Steve had been central to collaboration looking at the relationship between changes in health-related expenditure and impacts on health outcomes such as life-years saved and quality adjusted life-years gained.  This approach to estimating the marginal productivity of NHS, public health and social care expenditure has informed major policy questions such as appropriate budgets, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE’s) cost-effectiveness ‘threshold’, and the funding of interventions such as new branded pharmaceuticals. This has been described by a senior policymaker as “the single most important piece of work” being done for the Department of Health and Social Care. 

Steve was an outstanding team player, always focused on contributing to high-quality research to support policy.  His work was always meticulous, and he displayed immense clarity in conducting and communicating complex analyses. Steve’s understanding of NHS data was second to none, and he was also extremely generous in sharing his expertise to support the work of others. His massive contribution will continue through his colleagues and what they learned from him – not merely about the data and the econometrics, but how to communicate so clearly and precisely; and even more importantly, how to be the ultimate team player with an eye only on the social good.

Steve was devoted to his family, and he is survived by his son, Bradley, stepdaughter, Ruby, his long-term friend and former partner, Sally, and his sister Julie.

Steve will be profoundly missed by his many friends and colleagues.