A study of outcomes measures in forensic mental health
Outcomes measures, which is the measurement of effectiveness of interventions and services has been propelled onto the health service agenda since the introduction of the internal market in the 1990s. It arose as a result of the escalating cost of inpatient care, the need to identify what interventions work and in what situations, and the desire for effective information by service users enabled by the consumerist agenda introduced by Working for Patients white paper. The research reported in this thesis is an assessment of the readiness of the forensic mental health service to measure outcomes of interventions. The research examines the type, prevalence and scope of use of outcomes measures, and further seeks a consensus of views of key stakeholders on the priority areas for future development. It discusses the theoretical basis for defining health and advocates the argument that the present focus on measuring effectiveness of care is misdirected without the input of users, particularly patients in their care, drawing together the views of the many stakeholders who have an interest in the provision of care in the service. The research further draws on the theory of structuration to demonstrate the degree to which a duality of action, which is necessary for the development, and use of outcomes measures is in place within the service. Consequently, it highlights some of the hurdles that need to be surmounted before effective measurement of health gain can be developed in the field of study. It concludes by advancing the view that outcomes research can enable practitioners to better understand the relationship between the illness of the patient and the efficacy of treatment. This understanding it is argued would contribute to improving dialogue between the health care practitioner and the patient.