For nearly a decade, the UK NHS has been using performance-related compensation to motivate health care professionals to perform their jobs well. Research demonstrates that the job satisfaction of health care professionals has a significant, positive impact on health outcomes and that income affects job satisfaction. Missing, however, are studies on just how changes in compensation affect health care professionals’ enjoyment of their jobs and, so, personal motivation to do them well.

A new discussion paper from the Centre of Health Economics (CHE), University of York, reports first results from a programme of collaborative research by CHE, Nancy Devlin of the OHE, and David Parkin of NHS South of England. The study, funded by the UK Department of Health, is the first to examine the relationship between hospital costs and patients’ health outcomes.

In 2009, the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued supplementary advice that its Appraisal Committees are to consider when assessing treatments that extend life at the end of life. The policy thus places additional weight on the survival benefits for a small numbers of patients with terminal illnesses and short life expectancies. It assumes that this accurately reflects the societal preferences of the general public. However, little scientific evidence is available to support that premise. With funding from NICE’s Decision Support Unit, Koonal Shah of the OHE is collaborating with Aki Tsuchiya and Allan Wailoo of the University of Sheffield on initial research to help fill this void.