CANCELLED: LSHTM Health Economics Seminars - 7th February 2019

CANCELLED: LSHTM Health Economics Seminars - 7th February 2019

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CANCELLED: Unfortunately, the lecture today has had to be cancelled due to illness. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. 

Organiser:  Giulia Ferrari (   

Cheap & Dirty: The effect of contracting out cleaning on cost and quality

Prof Graham Cookson (Chief Executive, Office of Health Economics)

  • February 7th 2019
  • 13:00 to 14:15
  • Room LG4, Tavistock Place
  • Livestream available using this link

Contracting out of public services, especially ancillary services, has been a key feature of New Public Management since the 1980's and by 2014, over £100 billion of UK public services were contracted out annually to the private sector. Several high-profile cases have prompted a debate about the value-for-money these contracts provide. Value-for-money comprises both the cost and quality of the services. We empirically test the contestability and quality shading hypotheses of contracting out in the context of cleaning services in the English NHS. Additionally, we present and test a new hypothesis of coupling: the effect of contracting of ancillary services on the quality of core services using the hospital acquired infection rate as our measure. Using data from 2010/11-2013/14 for 130 English NHS trusts we find that private providers are cheaper and dirtier than their in-house counterparts. 

Short Bio

Professor Cookson is the Chief Executive of the Office of Health Economics. A visiting Professor at University of Surrey, Graham joined OHE in June 2018 from INRIX Inc. where he was Chief Economist and Head of Research. Prior to joining INRIX, Graham was Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Surrey, and Director of Research then latterly Head of Department of Healthcare Management & Policy. He founded the M.Sc. in Health Economics at the University of Surrey a collaboration between the School of Economics and the Department of Healthcare Management & Policy. At the University of Surrey, he was the Director of two research groups: the Leverhulme Trust funded “Better for Less” and the Centre for the Economics of Health Care. Graham is an econometrician by training and is interested in the use of big data in health and life sciences research. His current research interests include the measurement and determinants of productivity in healthcare especially labour productivity; the industrial organisation of healthcare especially tariffs and competition; real-world evidence in health economic evaluation; and big data in the health and life sciences. He is best known for this work on the economics of staffing and skill mix in the English NHS, and this research was critical to the development of the NICE Guidelines on Safe Staffing.