The major research areas within the Centre cover health policy and health economics with substantial overlap between these areas. The Centre emphasises a multidisciplinary approach to its work. LSE Health staff also collaborate with a number of other research centres and individuals in the UK and elsewhere. Currently there are major collaborations within the UK with, amongst others, various colleges of the University of London (including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UCL, and King's College), and the Universities of Cambridge, and York. On an International level, major collaborations with Stanford University and relationships with numerous European partners have been established.
This substantial research area is broadly defined and has both UK and international perspectives. While there is considerable overlap between analyses at national and international levels, the Centre has maintained its high reputation for feeding research into the policy arena. For example, within the UK, LSE was a contributor to the government-commissioned Wanless Review which undertook an in-depth look at the UK health expenditure requirements. There is also a long standing interest in health equity issues and this work is ongoing. Many LSE Health staff work on comparative aspects of health policy, particularly across Europe, reflecting the goals of the European Observatory's work. In line with the Centre's aim, the work on health policy has always maintained high standards of academic rigour while addressing issues of major policy concerns. Current specific areas of interest include:
Comparative health policy: This major research area has produced a number of outputs comparing, on both descriptive and analytical levels, various health care sectors. Work has been undertaken on health sector reforms across Europe, with a particular focus on the European Union's influence regarding the organisation, financing and delivery of health care.
UK health care financing and equity: A long-term programme of research documents recent funding issues in the UK and analyses the conceptual arguments for the public or private financing of health care. Work has concentrated on the issues dominating NHS funding debates over recent years. The impact of equity as a policy objective is also considered with a particular focus on the role of private health care insurance in the UK and its interaction with the NHS.
Health policy relating to the pharmaceutical industry: Given the specific pharmaceutical regulatory regimes in a number of countries, this research area deals with both comparative and EU-specific issues.
This research area covers methodological and applied topics. Staff are engaged in both theoretical and applied work over a range of areas. The aim is to maintain methodological advances while applying high quality research to specific areas. Current areas of interest include:
Economic evaluation in health care: A number of individual programmes contribute to this area. At a conceptual level, specific statistical approaches in economic evaluations, conducted alongside clinical trials, account for censored and missing data. Econometric modelling of trial data is a further interest. Individual projects have considered the methodological base of economic evaluation. Work is also proceeding on the relationship between expected utility theory and economic evaluation. On the applied side, work continues to assess the impact of regulatory bodies, such as NICE, on the application of economic evaluation. To date, various individual health care technologies have been evaluated.
Pharmaceutical economics: An ongoing research programme is concerned with the regulation of the pharmaceutical sector. In particular, the impact of regulation on pricing policies has been considered in a range of markets. This has been complemented by an analysis of how branded and generic pharmaceutical products interact.
Health care technology diffusion: Work continues to account for the variation in health technology up-take across different countries. A particular focus is on the area of coronary heart disease, part of the TECH project co-ordinated by Stanford University.
The economics of the hospital sector: Work in this area concerns the econometric specification of hospital cost functions and investigates optimal reimbursement contracts.
Health care workforce concerns: Work continues on the issues around the labour supply to the social care sector and on the nursing labour market.
Demography and health
Demography is the study of human populations, past, present and future. This science tracks how births, deaths, and migration determine change and therefore demonstrates key trends such as rapid population growth and population ageing. Research among the Population Group at LSE includes mortality forecasting, micro simulation, the demography of the Balkans, reproductive and sexual health in Southern, Central and East Africa and Asia, the effects of childhood experiences on later outcomes in Britain and the evolutionary analysis of West African populations.
The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies supports and promotes evidence-based health policy-making through comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the dynamics of health systems in Europe. The Observatory is a partnership that includes the Governments of Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Veneto Region of Italy; the French National Union of Health Insurance Funds (UNCAM); the World Health Organization; the European Commission; the World Bank; the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE; and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The partnership is hosted by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. It comprises a Steering Committee, a core management team, a research policy group and staff. The Observatory's Secretariat is in Brussels and there are research hubs in London and Berlin.
7th Framework Programme Projects
LSE Health coordinates the ECAB (Evaluating Care Across Borders) research project and Health Inc. (Financing Health Care for Inclusion), funded by the European Commission under its 7th Framework Programme.
PSSRU aims to conduct high-quality policy analysis, evaluation, research and consultancy in the field of social care and mental health to inform and influence policy, practice and theory. It is regularly commended for its 'exceptional track record in adult social care research' and 'significant contribution to strengthening the evidence-base for policymaking in key areas'. Evidence has been provided to underpin developments in policy discussions and practice.
Over recent years, PSSRU has sought to: develop its work and ‘exposure’ internationally; undertake cost-effectiveness research on mental health promotion and mental illness prevention; look at funding systems and the balance between different forms of care and support; examine patterns of unpaid care and support; develop our long-term care projections model; and improve its knowledge exchange and impact.
Research has been funded through a large number of separate grants; since 2004 alone these have totalled over £30 million. Research awards during the last 5 years include formal collaborations with approximately 40 other universities/institutes (UK and abroad).
Key research areas currently include:
Children, young people and families
Mental health economics and policy
Social care service evaluation and economics
Visit PSSRU's Research section for more information.
SSCR commissions and conducts research to improve the evidence base for adult social care in England: covering the wide range of care and support that is available and used by adults; the diversity of services and service providers of adult social care; and care and support provided through informal care, self care and self-funded care.
Between 2009 and 2014 (Phase 1 of SSCR, which involved the LSE, King's College London, and the Universities of Kent, Manchester and York), SSCR commissioned 56 research studies, 15 added value projects, 12 scoping reviews and 19 methods reviews. The full list is available on the SSCR website.
Phase 2 of SSCR began on 1 May 2014 after receiving funding from the NIHR for a further five years, and this involves a partnership between the LSE and the Universities of Bristol, Kent, Manchester and York.
Research commissioned by SSCR has covered a range of themes, including housing, carers, assessment, improving quality, safeguarding, personalised care and support, prevention and support within communities.
To keep up-to-date with the latest SSCR research and activities, subscribe to SSCR Post - a regular e-newsletter which highlights the latest research findings, publications, news and upcoming events.