Department of Health Services Research and Policy
Tel: +44 (0) 207 927 2366 Fax: +44 (0) 207 927 2701
Established in 1988, our aim is to carry out research that helps to improve the quality, organisation and management of health services and systems. This extends from establishing what care should be provided and how services should be organised, through assessing the quality of existing services, to how improvements can be brought about. Most of our research is in high income countries and, in particular, the UK. Our staff reflect both the multi-disciplinary (epidemiology, sociology, psychology, economics, history, statistics, health policy) and multi-professional (nursing, medicine, pharmacy) nature of our work.
Establishing what care should be provided and how services should be organised involves primary evaluative research (on particular health care interventions and policies), reviews of existing research evidence and modelling possible options. In addition to specific projects, we run the Clinical Effectiveness Unit at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, support a similar unit at the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecology. We also provide economics input to the NICE National Coordinating Centre for Cancer.
Assessing the quality of existing services involves the development of outcome measures, indicators and data collection methods. We achieve these aims partly through close links with clinicians (in particular in surgery, critical care and obstetrics) and by hosting the National Centre of Health Outcomes Development for the NHS Information Centre for Health & Social Care.
Our work on improving health services and systems extends from the creation of clinical guidelines for managing patients, through research on the organisation of health care providers and purchasers, to national and international policies on funding, workforce and governance. Achievement of these aims is enhanced by our shared responsibility for the NICE National Coordinating Centre for Acute Care, provision of an 'on-call' facility to advise the Department of Health about international comparisons, being a key part of the European Observatory on Health Care Systems, and research on health systems carried out as part of the European Centre On the Health Of Societies in Transition
The Unit includes the Department of Health's National Centre for Health Outcomes Development, the NHS National Co-ordinating Centre for Service Delivery and Organisation Research & Development, the Centre for Policy in Nursing Research, the European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition, the Royal College of Surgeons' Clinical Effectiveness Unit and hosts part of the European Observatory on Health Care Systems.