O come all ye Unit Cost faithful – 2017 edition now available

December 14, 2017

By Lesley Curtis, Research Fellow at PSSRU Kent

Christmas is in the air!  Office decorations are twinkling, the Santa Run is about to begin and most importantly (for me anyway), the Unit Costs of Health and Social Care 2017 is about to be removed from my ‘to do’ list. Another busy year for the Unit Costs team – with the technicians at the ready to bring this edition online for you on 20 December 2017 – click here to download the 2017 edition.

I am pleased to tell you about a new initiative we have been working on this year.  We have created a database of all previous articles and guest editorials commissioned for the Unit Costs programme

since 2003. Our motivation for creating this database is to acknowledge their importance and to highlight the depth of work we cover.  The database can be accessed through a dedicated page on our website:  http://www.pssru.ac.uk/ucarticles/ and provides a search facility allowing readers to find articles and editorials for particular client groups, by focus, e.g. policy-related or methods-based and by year of publication.  There are many examples of excellent articles written for the Unit Costs volumes over the years so we are hoping that this database will serve as a ‘first port of call’ for those involved in costing research!

2017 Edition

To give you a glimpse of what to expect in our 2017 edition: our guest editorial by Anita Patel and colleagues talks about the different methods of estimating costs of medication in economic evaluation. Two articles follow: Miqdad Asaria from the Centre for Health Economics describes how to calculate average health care costs by age, sex and neighbourhood; and the second (by yours truly) was commissioned to inform the new National Health Service (NHS) dentistry contract, which is expected to be rolled out in 2018.  It describes a survey we undertook of English dental practices to estimate their staffing and capital overheads.

Other additions to this year’s edition are the costs of advocacy and counselling for children, the result of a collaboration with a national children’s charity; new work on positive behavioural support, perinatal anxiety and depression, self-management programmes; and some costs for supported living homes for adults with autism and complex needs.  We have kept in touch with the Autism Alliance since our work with them in 2015, which has enabled us to collect costs directly from their member organisations. Routine data underlying our estimates are updated every year; the preface of the 2017 edition will tell you more about that.

Last year, we consulted with readers who said that they would like to see the costs of sexual health services and video consultations in future volumes.  This year we have made a start on these topics, by searching the literature and identifying key people to assist.  We have been able to include some hospital costs for sexual health services and have drawn information from a study calculating the costs of sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening interventions targeting men in football club settings.  Next year, we are hoping to report on the costs of video and skype consultations drawn from work on the £50 million Challenge Fund.

Before I give away too much, all that remains is for me to say a big thank-you to those who have contributed this year, and to wish you a very happy Christmas from the Unit Costs team.

Amanda Burns is taking charge of delivering the volumes, having been in training for a few weeks (see https://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx).  Don’t be surprised, though, if your copy doesn’t get there in time for Christmas!