Research on the differential costs of providing health and social services in areas across Northern Ireland arising through economies of scale

MSA Ferndale – Tribal Secta Group, Belfast

MSA Ferndale, 2003

In situations where standards of access to services are set – such as percentages of population groups requiring to be within target times of relevant centres and services – an important consequence is that often service units and working teams in more sparsely populated areas cannot achieve economies of scale that are possible in areas where levels of demand are high. To maintain equity of provision in such circumstances extra unavoidable scale-related costs need to be identified and funded.

This project in Northern Ireland has quantified scale cost effects for a wide range of hospital and community services involving static facilities such as hospitals and day centres, passenger services such as ambulances and day centre vehicles and travelling professional activity such as district nursing and community midwifery. Funding models have been developed to allow identified costs to be appropriately shared between the various commissioning agencies such as Health and Social Services Boards and Locality Care Groups.