Allocative efficiency of health spending on older people

Institute for Fiscal Studies

  • Project led by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), supported by the Health Foundation’s Efficiency Research Programme.
  • Focusing on health and social care services for older people.
  • Aims to increase understanding of how money is allocated across health and social care services for older people, and whether the spending is effective.
  • Will analyse a wide range of data on health and social care service use and funding among older people.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) research team will investigate how public money is allocated across health and social care services for older people with different types of needs, and the effect on health outcomes and wellbeing.

The project aims to answer four questions:

  1. Is there variation in older people’s use of publicly-funded hospital services that is not explained by differences in need?
  2. How does use of health care services change in the final years of life?
  3. What are the relationships between publicly-funded formal, privately-funded formal and informal social care?
  4. What effect does the use of social care services have on the use of hospital services?

To build a picture of health and social care service use among older people, the researchers will collate and examine data on:

  • hospital admissions
  • cost of inpatient treatment
  • medical and non-medical characteristics of older people
  • health and wellbeing outcomes of older people
  • need for and use of different types of social care
  • local authority and private spending on social care.

Expected outcomes

The research findings will help policy makers understand how resource allocation can affect health outcomes for older people, and how money could best be targeted to achieve policy objectives. The project is due to be completed by March 2019.

Contact details

For more information, contact Darshan Patel, Research Manager at the Health Foundation or Gemma Tetlow, Programme Director at the IFS.


Efficiency Research Programme

This programme awarded £1.8 million to three research teams for projects looking into issues of efficiency and sustainability...

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