HSRUK Blog – Crisis, challenge and change: health services research and the COVID-19 pandemic

A timely blog piece from HSR UK chair Kieran Walshe reflects on what the pandemic could mean for the future of health services research, and on the importance of health research networks in times of crisis.  You can read the full article here.  In the article Kieran comments:

Making sense of what’s happening – and thinking about what it means for the future of health and care in the UK – has always been a big part of what health services researchers and policy analysts contribute. At times of major change in the past – the purchaser provider split in the 1990s, the NHS Plan in the 2000s, or the Lansley reforms in this decade – we’ve been there to help policymakers, managers and system leaders to understand the policy options, use evidence as much as they are able to do so to make choices, and to evaluate the impact of health reforms.


...we should already be thinking about what and how we learn from this crisis. What does it mean for the way health services can be organised in the future? Which of the changes being rushed into practice now – like telephone triage, remote/video consultation, hospital reconfiguration, treatment pathway standardisation, professional role changes and retraining, and so on – will hold valuable lessons for the future after this crisis is over?

Keiran also emphasises the importance of research networks like Health Services Research UK  and the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand in bringing the research community together – not just nationally but internationally as well.   HSRUK is doing this by making their conference in July an entirely online/virtual event free to anyone to attend (something never tried before!). You can find more details about the conference here.

The HSRAANZ President, Professor Rachael Morton has praised Kieran and HSR UK for the decision to run a virtual conference in July. Members from the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand (HSRAANZ) are encouraged to participate in this event.  In this part of the world we are also working hard to support our community of practice working from home, or at the frontline, through regular webinars and weekly newsletters.

Health Services Research is incredibly important during the pandemic. One area in particular is the use of Telehealth for consultations between medical and allied health clinicians and patients. Early reports are very positive, however comprehensive evaluation is necessary if the new MBS item numbers are to be extended beyond the pandemic period.

Comments on Kieran's article and what the HSRAANZ should be doing to support the health research community during the pandemc, can be made in the comments section at the end of this article or sent directly to Sarah.green@chere.uts.edu.au


Kieran Walshe is the chair of HSR UK. He is a Professor of Health Policy and Management at Alliance Manchester Business School and the Director of Health and Care Research Wales.

Read the full article here.

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