Economic analyses must be firmly rooted in the policy and practice contexts within which mental health care is delivered. The aims of these analyses will be framed in part by these contexts, as will the underlying needs for them. Although economic evaluation is usually associated with costing, in fact the focus is somewhat broader—in particular, the concern and evaluative effort are as much directed towards outcomes or effectiveness as towards the resources necessary to achieve them.

An example illustrates both how the context shapes the analysis and the need for analytical breadth. A succession of speeches, consultation documents, and press releases from the Department of Health of the United Kingdom and its ministers since the Labour government assumed power in May 1997 clearly demonstrate a commitment to changing Britain's mental health-care system. The principal aims of the new vision for mental health are 'safe, sound and supportive mental health and social care services'/1) Core components of the new system will include 24-h crisis teams, more acute inpatient beds, more hostels and support accommodation, improved mental health training for primary care health professionals, extra counselling services in health centres, specialist secure units in each region, assertive outreach teams in the community, better access to new treatment modalities, and changes in the law.

The Labour government's commitment to a number of long-standing principles and aims, together with important new departures (such as a review of the Mental Health Act), promise much for the users of mental health services and their families. The intention—indeed the expectation—is that these new service arrangements will improve the health and quality of life of both users and families. But new service configurations often cost more to introduce, even if later they prove to be resource saving.

Whilst the detail of the policy intentions may be more explicit and more recently espoused than elsewhere, the United Kingdom is no different from other countries in recognizing a need to meet the challenge of predominantly community-based mental health care. Policy and practice environments worldwide also face the same underlying difficulty: there are insufficient resources available to meet the health needs of their populations. This is the case whether they are public or private health-care systems, insurance based or tax funded. Universally, careful decisions need to be taken to ensure that resources are used to best effect. Economic evaluations examine whether these aims are achieved.

Adult Dyslexia

Adult Dyslexia

This is a comprehensive guide covering the basics of dyslexia to a wide range of diagnostic procedures and tips to help you manage with your symptoms. These tips and tricks have been used on people with dyslexia of every varying degree and with great success. People just like yourself that suffer with adult dyslexia now feel more comfortable and relaxed in social and work situations.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment