Open Access Open Badges Research article

Innovation in health economic modelling of service improvements for longer-term depression: demonstration in a local health community

Jonathan Tosh1*, Ben Kearns1, Alan Brennan1, Glenys Parry1, Thomas Ricketts12, David Saxon1, Alexis Kilgarriff-Foster1, Anna Thake1, Eleni Chambers1 and Rebecca Hutten1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Regent Court, 30 Regent Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 4DA, UK

2 Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:150  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-150

Published: 26 April 2013



The purpose of the analysis was to develop a health economic model to estimate the costs and health benefits of alternative National Health Service (NHS) service configurations for people with longer-term depression.


Modelling methods were used to develop a conceptual and health economic model of the current configuration of services in Sheffield, England for people with longer-term depression. Data and assumptions were synthesised to estimate cost per Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs).


Three service changes were developed and resulted in increased QALYs at increased cost. Versus current care, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for a self-referral service was £11,378 per QALY. The ICER was £2,227 per QALY for the dropout reduction service and £223 per QALY for an increase in non-therapy services. These results were robust when compared to current cost-effectiveness thresholds and accounting for uncertainty.


Cost-effective service improvements for longer-term depression have been identified. Also identified were limitations of the current evidence for the long term impact of services.

Cost-effectiveness; Depression; Chronic; Psychotherapy; Mental health services