Decision making and priority setting in health and social care

The need to make decisions between a range of potentially beneficial interventions has existed since the inception of the NHS. The recent economic downturn places increasing pressure on the financing of health care services. 

For many health care providers, including the NHS, this means difficult decisions need to be made over what will and will not be funded.  The need to distribute scarce resources in an efficient and effective manner has led to a range of cost-containment strategies, with a number of tools and approaches being used to aid priority-setting processes in the UK and beyond.  One of HSMC's specialist areas is its current work around decision making and priority setting in health and social care.

Current projects

Priority setting: an exploratory study of English PCTs

This work is funded by the Nuffield Trust as part of their New Frontiers in NHS Efficiency Programme. The study involves two phases:

  • Phase 1: A national survey of priority setting approaches in English PCTs
  • Phase 2: Using a case study approach to provide an in-depth investigation into how a range of priority-setting activities are operationalised in practice.

Public value and priority setting in health care

The aim of this project is to review the literature on 'public value' and its application to health care and priority setting.