Skip to Content


Home » Past Events » Evaluating Health Policy: New Evidence from Administrative Data

University of York and University of Bristol Workshops, 20 September 2007 and†15 May 2008

These two one-day workshops brought together senior academics and policy-makers to discuss recent health policy findings from analysis of administrative data. At each workshop, a distinguished audience of around 60 participants heard presentations and discussions of five high quality national database studies on important policy topics, rounded off by a general discussion about challenges and prospects in using administrative data to inform policy.

Both workshops were jointly organized by Richard Cookson, University of York, and Carol Propper, University of Bristol CMPO and Imperial College London.† The workshops were part funded by the ESRC Public Services Programme, with administrative support from CMPO.

Although the UK health sector is rich in administrative data, these have been relatively underused in informing health policy.† Furthermore, the NHS is in the middle of an ambitious set of reforms which need to be evaluated.† Administrative data may prove to be a rich source of information for this purpose.

The aims of the workshop were to:

In the first workshop, five papers were presented by Peter Smith (York) on local health spending and mortality, Andrew Street (York) on hospital activity based funding, Matt Sutton (Aberdeen) on GP pay for performance, Carol Propper (Bristol) on nurse wages and hospital mortality, and Richard Cookson (York) on hospital competition and equity.† Discussants were Julien Forder (LSE), Martin Chalkley (Aberdeen), John Appleby (Kings Fund), Jenny Roberts (Sheffield) and Nick Mays (LSHTM).† The round table discussion was led by Geoffrey Royston (Head of Profession for Operations Research at the Department of Health), Donald Franklin (Senior Economic Adviser at the Department of Health) and Nick Mays (Scientific Co-ordinator for the Department of Health Health Reform Evaluation Programme).

At the second workshop, five papers were presented by Gautam Gowrisankaran ((University of Washington) on volume-quality causal relationships in surgery, Martin Chalkley (University of Dundee) on the new dental contract in England, Paul Fenn (University of Nottingham) on variations in MRSA infection rates, Frank Windmeijer (CMPO, University of Bristol) on effects of English NHS targets on waiting times and Tim Leunig (LSE) output measurement in Britainís railway services. Discussants were Alastair McGuire (LSE), Bob Elliott, (University of Aberdeen), Karen Bloor (University of York), David Parkin (City) and Helen Simpson (CMPO).

The workshop stimulated interesting discussion and appeared to be well received by both academic and policy participants.† Several policy makers commented that they found the day stimulating and useful, and have fed the findings back to policy colleagues; one commented that the workshop was unusually successful in attracting the right policy makers as well as the right academics.