About the research study
What we are looking at
The variety of organisations providing NHS-funded services is growing. It is not just existing NHS hospitals, services and GPs. Instead, they increasingly include corporations, private firms, professional partnerships, social enterprises, voluntary organisations and others. The degree to which these organisational types vary both in the ways they manage and provide services and in their outcomes for service quality, patient experience and innovation, remains, however, unclear. This research, funded by the Department of Health (DH), aims to help those who commission NHS services and those who refer patients to select effectively between different types of organisation for different tasks.
What we will do
We are focusing on four NHS services heavily used by older people at high risk of hospital admission or re-admission: community health services, GP out-of-hours services, and secondary care (planned orthopaedics and ophthalmology). We will use a purposive sample of providers in order to give us the maximum variety of organisational types for each service. This will give us about 12 case studies. In each site we will adopt a mixed methods approach. This will include an organisational case study (including interviews with managers and commissioners) and a qualitative study of patient experience and choice (focusing on these same service providers).
The expected outputs will be evidence-based schemas. These will show how different organisational types of provider vary in their typical patterns of service development and delivery, and in how NHS commissioners may need to adapt their commissioning practice.
What we hope to find out
The frail elderly is a key demographic sector with significant policy and financial implications. This research is intended to help NHS commissioners to select and make contracts with providers in a more informed way, apprising provider development and competition policy. For patients, doctors and other stakeholders, we hope the main outcome will be better knowledge, hence more informed decision making, about the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of healthcare provider.
What we aim to do on this web page
Our plans for telling people about this research will make use of a number of strategies suggested by patient and public involvement (PPI) as well as the DH and our service providers. We hope to use this website to tell you how the research is progressing and give you access to our findings as they emerge. We will at all times ensure our informants' organisational and individual anonymity.