• Run by the University of York, in partnership with the University of Birmingham and University of Sheffield.
  • Research project on mental health care provision.
  • Will use a quality of life framework to assess the cost effectiveness of mental health trusts and how they vary on cost and quality.
  • 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 (eg capital, labour) might be associated with improved cost effectiveness.


Professor Rowena Jacobs, Professor of Health Economics, University of York, rowena.jacobs@york.ac.uk

Darshan Patel, Senior Research Manager, the Health Foundation, darshan.patel@health.org.uk