Six policy projects have been selected as part of the Health Foundation’s new Policy Challenge Fund, covering a range of topics. The programme aims to generate insight to support and inform policymakers on important current and future issues in UK health policy.

By drawing together policy analysis on salient issues, the programme will provide national policymakers in the UK with insight that will support high-quality decision making with regard to health policy and improve the quality of the policy debate.

The projects will complete in 2016 and will explore:

  • competition policy in EU countries
  • identifying and preventing failure in health care, including learning from other sectors
  • responses to austerity in the NHS
  • building constructive conversations with the public on service changes in the NHS.

The projects are:

Population change and the provision and use of NHS maternity services – Institute for Fiscal Studies

This project will investigate how previous changes in population size have affected the demand for NHS maternity services, how those services responded to that extra demand, and whether there were any implications for quality. It will use routine national data and will build a picture of how maternity services have responded to increased demand without a corresponding increase in available resources.

Public sector failure: Lessons for health care policymakers – University of Leicester

This project focus on how failure is identified, managed and prevented in non-health public services and what lessons health policy can draw from these different approaches. It will develop case studies from education and criminal justice and analyse these to understand how national and local health bodies can improve their response to quality and financial failures.

On the brink: identifying, integrating and responding to the early warnings of organisational failure – University of Oxford

This project will review literature and interview people with practical experience of detecting failure and managing risk in different industries where reliability is crucial: for instance transport, critical infrastructures and financial services. The analysis aims to explore how the NHS can better detect early warning signs of organisational failure.

Changing together: brokering constructive conversations – Social Care Institute for Excellence, PPL and the Institute for Government

This project will analyse literature and work with local areas planning changes to understand how successful conversations between services and the public can be held. The analysis will characterise the barriers to successful local conversations on service change and set out how constructive conversations can be held in the future.

‘Hospitals Must Close’: A four system comparison of policy for constructive conversations on controversial service changes – University of Edinburgh

This project will analyse previous hospital closures in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The project aims to increase understanding of good policy and practice in closing hospitals and set out ways which public conversations on hospital closure can be better undertaken in the future.

Competition policy in five European countries: What can be learned for UK health policy? – University of York

This project will analyse the use of competition policies in health systems across five European countries (France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Portugal). Country experts will create case studies which will be analysed to understand how learning from these countries can be applied to the NHS.

For more information please contact Felicity Dormon, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation.