Health Services Management Centre key partner in new research into mental health care provision

The Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) at the University of Birmingham will join the University of York and University of Sheffield in a research project to look at mental health care provision, funded by the Health Foundation.

The research will be led by Professor Rowena Jacobs at the University of York, with HSMC’s Professor Russell Mannion as a co-investigator. It will assess organisational factors which drive improvements in cost and quality of mental health care, 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 health care 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 round two Efficiency Research project led by the University of York will look at the efficiency, cost and quality of current mental health care 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. These are expected to include aspects such as improvements in outcomes, better and more equitable access to care, and distance to providers.

Quality adjusted life year (QALY) weightings will then be developed for each of these indicators in order to assess efficiency, using a QALY framework. This data will be used to produce a cost-effectiveness plane for mental health trusts, to enable the team to identify high-quality, low-cost providers, and to further examine organisational factors associated with cost effectiveness.

This information will inform estimates of how resources can be reallocated to be more cost effective, and what input-mix (e.g. capital, labour) might be associated with improved cost effectiveness.

For more information about this research contact Professor Russell Mannion