Understanding health and care expenditure by setting – who matters to whom?
Objective: To assess service use and associated expenditure across a range of care settings in one local authority in London, United Kingdom. Methods: An analysis of linked electronic health and council records of adults living in the borough of Barking and Dagenham, east London, for the financial year 2016/17. Unit costs were applied to individual service use to provide expenditure at an individual and population level for five settings of care. Population and expenditure volumes were compared for 32 possible combinations of service use. Results: The total expenditure for the cohort (114,393 residents) for 2016/17 was £180.1 million. Almost half (47%) of total expenditure was incurred by community care, social care and mental health services, with hospital care and primary care incurring, respectively, 35% (£63.3 m) and 18% (£32.6 m). The two most common combinations in terms of total population volume and expenditure were primary and hospital care, and primary, hospital and community care. Primary care was present in all combinations. Mental health service use accounted for just over a tenth of all expenditure in the borough, but using mental health services substantially increased mean expenditure per patient. Conclusions: A whole system perspective across all settings of care improves understanding of service user patterns. Setting-level analysis remains important, particularly for mental health users.