Funding approaches for mental health services: is there still a role for clustering?

Rowena Jacobs (Lead / Corresponding author), Martin Chalkley, Maria Jose Aragon, Jan R. Boehnke, Michael Clark, Valerie Moran

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    12 Citations (Scopus)
    187 Downloads (Pure)


    Funding for mental health services in England faces many challenges, including operating under financial constraints where it is not easy to demonstrate the link between activity and funding. Mental health services need to operate alongside and collaborate with acute physical hospital services, where there is a well-established system for paying for activity. The funding landscape is shifting at a rapid pace and we outline the distinctions between the three main options – block contracts, episodic payment and capitation. Classification of treatment episodes via clustering presents an opportunity to demonstrate activity and reward it within these payment approaches. We discuss the results of our research into how well the clustering system is performing against a number of fundamental criteria. We find that, according to these criteria, clusters are falling short of providing a sound basis for measuring and financing services. Nevertheless, we argue that clustering is the best available option and is essential for a more transparent funding approach for mental healthcare to demonstrate its claim on resources, and that clusters should therefore be a starting point for evolving a better funding system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)412-421
    Number of pages10
    JournalBJPsych Advances
    Issue number6
    Early online date10 Aug 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


    • Mental health funding
    • clustering
    • block contracts
    • episodic payment
    • capitation payment
    • management


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