Assessing the clinical and cost-effectiveness of inpatient mental health rehabilitation services provided by the NHS and independent sector (ACER): protocol

Helen Killaspy, Christian Dalton-Locke, Caroline S Clarke, Gerard Leavey, Artemis Igoumenou, Maurice Arbuthnott, Katherine Barrett, Rumana Omar

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Abstract

Background: Mental health rehabilitation services provide specialist treatment to people with particularly severe and complex problems. In 2018, the Care Quality Commission reported that over half the 4,400 mental health inpatient rehabilitation beds in England were provided by the independent sector. They raised concerns that the length of stay and cost of independent sector care was double that of the NHS and that their services tended to be provided much further from people’s homes. However, there has been no research comparing the two sectors and we therefore do not know if these concerns are justified. The ACER Study (Assessing the Clinical and cost-Effectiveness of inpatient mental health Rehabilitation services provided by the NHS and independent sector) is a national programme of research in England, funded from 2021 to 2026, that aims to investigate differences in inpatient mental health rehabilitation provided by the NHS and independent sector in terms of: patient characteristics; service quality; patient, carer and staff experiences; clinical and cost effectiveness.
Methods: ACER comprises a:1) detailed survey of NHS and independent sector inpatient mental health rehabilitation services across England; 2) qualitative investigation of patient, family, staff and commissioners’ experiences of the two sectors; 3) cohort study comparing clinical outcomes in the two sectors over 18 months; 4) comprehensive national comparison of inpatient service use in the two sectors, using instrumental variable analysis of routinely collected healthcare data over 18 months; 5) health economic evaluation of the relative cost-effectiveness of the two sectors. In Components 3 and 4, our primary outcome is ‘successful rehabilitation’ defined as a) being discharged from the inpatient rehabilitation unit without readmission and b) inpatient service use over the 18 months. Discussion: The ACER study will deliver the first empirical comparison of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of NHS and independent sector inpatient mental health rehabilitation services.
Trial registration: ISRCTN17381762 retrospectively registered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Volume24
Issue number1
Early online date6 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 6 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • Mental health
  • Severe mental illness
  • Inpatient
  • Rehabilitation
  • NHS
  • Independent sector
  • Clinical effectiveness
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Length of stay
  • Instrument variable
  • Instrumental variable

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