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New Unit Costs of Health and Social Care Programme

In 2022, the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the University of Kent and the Centre for Health Economics (CHE) at the University of York began an exciting and innovative collaboration to estimate unit costs for health and social care and to deliver an annual volume. This builds on PSSRU’s successful approach and long experience to produce, publish and present information about costs, as outlined in the Story So Far tab. Funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (PRP), PSSRU and CHE will together move the Unit Cost Programme forward over the next five years.

Knowing the cost of health and social care services plays an important role in informing what support is provided to those who need help. The cost of services affects choices about health and social care provision and about how best to spend limited care budgets. Using consistent and reliable cost information is important for decision-makers in health and social care and for research.

The aim is to ensure the results are up-to-date, comprehensive, responsive and relevant to those who use them. There are five associated work packages.

Work package 1: Review and scope

We will annually review the developments in the health and social care sectors (e.g. new services, new datasets) to ensure our cost estimations are up to date and relevant.

Work package 2: Enhancing what we offer

Throughout the programme, we will work with users of the cost information (e.g. health and social care professionals, individuals who require help from care services and their family carers, alongside general members of the public) to explore how to best produce and publish this information in a useful form.

Work package 3: Costing approach

We will continuously explore whether we can improve on the way we calculate costs, what data we use, and how we report the information.

Work package 4: Involvement and Engagement

We will involve users of our cost estimates in the research programme to ensure that their views inform the design, direction, and content. Activities will include stakeholder workshops to help understand how people use unit costs in practice.

Work package 5: Unit Costs of Health and Social Care Manual

We will produce annual cost estimations drawing on the four work packages above.



This diagram illustrations the overall programme of work.

This diagram illustrations the overall programme of work.

Download the new Unit Costs of Health and Social Care 2023 Manual by clicking the image below:

 
Picture of front page of the latest Unit Costs manual 2023

Download the new Unit Costs of Health and Social Care 2022 Manual below:


Picture of front page of new Unit Costs manual 2022
Interested in Unit Costs but not sure where to start? Click the preview to download our infographic for a quick visual introduction.
A preview image of the Unit Costs of Health and Social Care Infographic which can be downloaded as a pdf
PSSRU at the University of Kent has produced the annual cost estimates for the delivery of health and social care services for 29 years. Lesley Curtis, a Senior Research Fellow at PSSRU led the Unit Costs of Health and Social Care programme, alongside Amanda Burns Jennifer Beecham. The previous Unit Costs volumes can be found here. The Unit Costs of Health and Social Care contract was completed in 2022.

We would like to thank our Advisory Group (Ross Campbell, Adriana Castelli, Ciara Donnelly, Sebastian Hinde, Tracey Sach, James Shearer, Adam Storrow and Jonathan White) for their input at our meetings. We would also like to thank colleagues from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS Digital and the Department of Education who shared the relevant datasets so we could estimate the unit costs. In addition, we received invaluable assistance from Anna Peckham, Sarah Godfrey, Alan Dargan and Ed Ludlow from the University of Kent. Thank you to you all.

We are so excited for the next five years and the collaboration between PSSRU and CHE.
The research team are committed to enhancing the Unit Costs of Health and Social Care programme through public involvement and engagement. We have four research advisors helping us to shape the programme and will be involved in all stages.

The aim is for the research advisors to act as our ‘critical friends’ throughout the 5 years and advise on:

  • Accessibility of the web page that will host the annual publication of The Unit Costs of Health and Social Care manual.

  • The planned work packages, including unit cost manual review, unit cost adjuster, the methodology, interpretation and regular updates on the website.

  • The development and publication of the lay summary, flyer and an infographic highlighting the content and value of the annual Unit Costs of Health and Social Care

Blog Title

Bringing Unit Costs to a wider audience: Making the invisible visible


Members of the Unit Cost programme met with our Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) Research Advisors for our first Unit Cost PPIE project discussion in November 2022. Unit costs of health and social care quantifies the resources required to produce these services in monetary terms. The purpose of the meeting was to jointly develop our understanding of how Research Advisors involvement will work in the programme and to think through how, together, we can make the most of the Unit Cost programme, over its 5 year time horizon. We were keen to identify creative, impactful, opportunistic ways to draw on a range of views on unit costs and create more value from the research through our public involvement activities. - Click the title to read the full post

Sarah Birch is a Public Involvement and Engagement Manager at PSSRU within the University of Kent, supporting a variety of programmes including ‘Quality, Safety and Outcomes of Health and Social Care (QSO) Policy Research Unit’ and ‘Unit Costs for Health and Social Care’. Sarah works with members in our Public Involvement Strategy and Implementation Group (PISIG) and our Public Involvement Research Advisory Network (PIRAN) to ensure strategic and advisory patient and public involvement and engagement is embedded within the research unit.
Adriana Castelli is a Senior Research Fellow in the Health Policy Team at CHE. Her research interests include health policy reforms evaluation, health system efficiency and performance measurement with a particular focus on the development of productivity measures of healthcare goods and services. Adriana has an advisory role for the overall programme, with a focus on Unit Cost and labour costing methods, as well as providing overall advice on health care data.
Martin Chalkley is Professor of Health Economics in CHE. His research has focused on assessing the impact of different remuneration methods (such as Payment by Results) on healthcare delivery. He has expertise in regard to the link between payment and incentives and originally worked in the field of labour economics before specialising in healthcare.
Headshot of Alan DarganAlan Dargan supports the work of researchers in the PSSRU at Kent.
Julien Forder is Professor of the Economics of Social Policy. Until recently he was also an Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics. In the past, Julien has been seconded to the King's Fund as project lead for the Wanless social care review and to the Strategy Unit in the Department of Health, providing advice to Ministers on social care and related areas of health policy. He is an economist and has conducted research in social care for many years.
Minyue Gao is a Research Fellow with the Team for Economic Evaluation and Health Technology Assessment (TEEHTA) at the Centre for Health Economics (CHE), University of York. She is interested in techniques and methodologies used in economic evaluations and will mainly contribute to conducting the scoping review and developing a costing toolkit for this project.
Sebastian Hinde Sebastian Hinde is a Research Fellow in the Team for Economic Evaluation and Health Technology Assessment (TEEHTA) in the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York. Sebastian has conducted economic evaluations in a range of disease areas, with recent research focusing on the role of economic evaluations to inform commissioning decisions made by local decision makers. He has an advisory role for the overall programme with specific focus on the production of the unit cost toolkit.
Karen Jones is a Professor and Co-Director of PSSRU. Karen is the Principal Investigator and will provide leadership for the overall research programme over the next 5 years. Karen has 20 years’ experience in researching cost-related issues in adult social care, alongside conducting systematic reviews and presenting costing information in an accessible format.
Shainur Premji is a Research Fellow with the Team for Economic Evaluation and Health Technology Assessment (TEEHTA) at the Centre for Health Economics, University of York. For this project, Shainur will be involved in gathering stakeholder feedback on previous versions of the Unit Cost Manual and conducting a scoping review to identify existing sources of data that may be used to calculate unit costs, and existing resource use, costing toolkits, or new services that may be used to inform future versions of the Unit Costs Manual.
Headshot of Daniel RolandDaniel Roland is a Research Associate at the Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Kent. He has experience in research on different funding models for social care and in quantitative methods in health and social care settings using large datasets. His role in this project is to improve the methods of calculation for health and social care costs in future versions of the Unit Costs Manual.
Helen Weatherly is a Professor of health and social care economics at Centre for Health Economics, University of York. She's the York Principal Investigator and, in collaboration with Karen, she'll lead the research on unit costs for inclusion in the Unit Cost for Health and Social Care Manual over the next 5 years. Helen has undertaken many economic evaluations of health and social care services using unit costs from the Manual. She has undertaken cost-related research and was formerly an Advisor to the programme.
Research Advisors
Dr Sarah Markham's headshotDr. Sarah Markham is a mental health patient who is an experienced patient advisor, a member of BMJ’s International Patient Panel. As a patient she is actively engaged in mental health advocacy and service improvement working with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, NHS England and other national organisations in the UK. She is also a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Biostatistics and Health Informatics, King's College London and has a PhD in mathematics. Sarah is keen to support the Unit Costs programme to enhance its accessibility, relevance and use, and thereby be of optimal benefit to services, patients and the wider public.
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the logos of the institutions involved with the new unit costs report - PSSRU, University of York, Unit costs report logo and University of kent

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