The costs of caring for stroke patients in a GP-led community hospital: an application of programme budgeting and marginal analysis

L. Henderson, Anthony Scott

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There has been little evaluation of the role of community hospitals in the provision of integrated health care services in a primary care-led health system. The aim of this study was to model the probable changes in the use of NHS resources from the introduction of integrated stroke care in a general practitioner-led community hospital. A programme budgeting and marginal analysis (PBMA) exercise was conducted combining practice data for the 'before' period and data from the literature to model the 'after' period. Data were collected from all patients discharged with a primary diagnosis of stroke 1994-96 in Nairn and Ardersier Total Fundholding pilot site, Highland Health Board, Scotland. Under several assumptions, a policy of early discharge of patients to the community hospital, and/or avoiding admission at the acute trust and admitting patients to the community hospital directly (except emergencies), is likely to result in a reduction of the total annual costs of treating stroke patients, from pound 183 000 per annum to, at most, pound 74 000. The analysis of routine discharge data since integrated stroke care was set up has shown that progress has been made in shifting the treatment of patients from the acute trust to the community hospital. The care of stroke patients in a GP-led community hospital is likely to reduce the use of scarce health service resources. Current evidence suggests that health outcomes are unchanged due to early discharge, but further research is required to ensure that patients' health status and quality of life are maintained before such a policy is widely adopted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-255
Number of pages11
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • community hospitals
  • costs
  • economic evaluation
  • stroke
  • HOME

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