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We present a method that leverages projected light patterns as a mechanism for freeform deformation of a thin liquid film via the thermocapillary effect. We developed a closed-form solution for the inverse problem of the thin-film evolution equation, allowing us to obtain the projection pattern required in order to achieve a desired topography. We experimentally implement the method using a computer controlled light projector, which illuminates any desired pattern onto the bottom of a fluidic chamber patterned with heat–absorbing metal pads. The resulting heat map induces surface tension gradients in the liquid–air interface, giving rise to thermocapillary flow that deforms the liquid surface. If a polymer is used for the liquid film, it can then be photocured to yield a solid device. Based on the inverse-problem solutions and using this system, we demonstrate the fabrication of several diffractive optical elements, including phase masks for extended depth of field imaging, and for three-dimensional localization microscopy. The entire process, from projection to solidification, is completed in less than five minutes, and yields a sub-nanometric surface quality without any post-processing.
Current methods for fabricating lenses rely on mechanical processing of the lens or mould, such as grinding, machining and polishing. The complexity of these fabrication processes and the required specialized equipment prohibit rapid prototyping of optical components. This work presents a simple method, based on free-energy minimization of liquid volumes, which allows us to quickly shape curable liquids into a wide range of spherical and aspherical optical components, without the need for any mechanical processing. After the desired shape is obtained, the liquid can be cured to produce a solid object with nanometric surface quality. We provide a theoretical model that accurately predicts the shape of the optical components, and demonstrate rapid fabrication of all types of spherical lenses (convex, concave, meniscus), cylindrical lenses, bifocal lenses, toroidal lenses, doublet lenses and aspheric lenses. The method is inexpensive and can be implemented using a variety of curable liquids with different optical and mechanical properties. In addition, the method is scale invariant and can be used to produce even very large optical components, without a significant increase in fabrication time. We believe that the ability to easily and rapidly create optical components, without the need for complex and expensive infrastructure, will provide researchers with new affordable tools for fabricating and testing optical designs.
This timely book is the most comprehensive account yet of recent commissioning practice in the English NHS and its impact on health services and the healthcare system. Drawing on eight years of research, expert researchers in the field analyse crucial aspects of commissioning, including competition and cooperation, the development of Clinical Commissioning Groups and contractual mechanisms. They also consider the influence of recent commissioning reforms on public health infrastructure. For academics and policy makers in health services research and policy, this is a valuable collection of evidence that deepens understanding of how commissioning works.
This chapter provides a brief contextual summary, setting out the organisation and governance of commissioning in the NHS. It gives an overview of commissioning from the creation of the internal market in the late 1980s to its consolidation pre-and post-HSCA 2012, and highlights the important changes which were brought about by the HSCA 2012. The chapter highlights the programme theories underlying the internal market and the HSCA 2012, in particular the commitment to competition as a means of improving services and the expected benefits of greater clinical involvement in commissioning. The architecture of commissioning following the HSCA 2012 is outlined and an overview of developments since the Act is presented.
It is perhaps important to note here that clinical involvement in commissioning has been variously referred to as ‘clinically-led’ and ‘GP-led’. In its earliest manifestations (GP fundholding) there was a clear policy commitment to the involvement of local GPs (primary care physicians) in commissioning. As noted in Chapter 1 this policy was driven by a belief in the value of local clinical knowledge, rather than by any evidence of its value. Over time, emphasis in policy has shifted between ‘GP-led commissioning’ (such as fundholding, PBC) and ‘clinically led commissioning’ (such as Primary Care Groups [PCGs]). The use of the wider term ‘clinically led’ has been used by policy makers to signal a commitment to the wider engagement of other clinicians such as nurses and hospital consultants, often in response to representations from other professional groups. Thus, in their first iteration, CCGs were explicitly intended to be GP-focused, but during a consultation period the rules were amended to mandate the involvement of both a nurse and a hospital consultant on CCG governing bodies, and policy documents reflected this by referring to ‘clinically led’ commissioning. However, in practice, clinically led commissioning has generally meant GP-led commissioning, with the involvement of other clinicians tokenistic at best. In this book, for consistency, the term ‘GP-led commissioning’ is used, but acknowledge that policy has, at times, tried to promote a wider clinical engagement beyond local GPs.
Internal market/purchaser– provider split – the origins of ‘commissioning’
The NHS was established initially in 1948 as a hierarchical public Organisation.
The aim of this book is to bring together in one volume the most important research which the Policy Research Unit in Commissioning and the Healthcare System (PRUComm) has undertaken during the period 2011 to 2018. PRUComm is a multicentre research unit based at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the University of Manchester and the University of Kent. It is led by Professors Stephen Peckham (LSHTM and Kent), Kath Checkland (Manchester) and Pauline Allen (LSHTM). PRUComm was funded (following an open competition) by the Policy Research Programme of the English Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) (that is, the English Ministry of Health) from 2011 onwards to provide evidence to the DHSC to inform the development of policy on commissioning and the healthcare system. The analytical work supports understanding of how commissioning operates and how it can improve services and access, increase effectiveness and respond better to patient and population needs.
The term ‘commissioning’ is used in the context of the quasi-market structures in the English National Health Service (NHS), which will be explained in detail in the following chapter. Briefly, ‘commissioning’ can be understood as ‘the process of assessing needs, planning and prioritising, purchasing and monitoring health services, to get the best health outcomes’ (NHS England, 2018a). In other words, commissioning focuses on the demand side of the NHS quasi-market (where organs of the state make decisions on behalf of patients), as opposed to the providers of care, such as hospitals. The research extends to analysing the structure and operation of the NHS healthcare system as a whole, focusing on how commissioning can be used to influence providers’ behaviour. Clearly, the concept of commissioning is not confined to the English NHS. Quasi (or actual) markets were introduced into many English public services in the 1990s and the necessity for the state to undertake demand-side activities on behalf of (or in conjunction with) citizens became widespread (Le Grand and Bartlett, 1993). For example, social care has also been subject to marketisation (Forder et al, 2004). Although the term commissioning is not always used internationally, many countries have developed institutional structures for their public services in which commissioning functions are undertaken either by the state (for example, in the Italian healthcare system) (France et al, 2005) or social insurance funds (for example, in the Dutch healthcare system) (Rutten, 2004).
The period since the passing of the HSCA 2012 has been one of change and disruption for the NHS and at the time of writing in 2019 it seems unlikely that this turbulence will diminish in the near future. While the LTP (NHS England and NHS Improvement, 2019) published in January 2019 provides some indication of the future direction of commissioning, the lack of specific detail and guidance leaves the Plan open to interpretation. The main thrust of the LTP is to increase the emphasis on collaboration and integration at local level at the expense of competition, but its provisions about commissioning itself are not clear. The structural changes introduced by the HSCA 2012 pursuant to the twin policies of increasing clinical involvement in commissioning and accelerating market forces have had large effects on the practice of commissioning across the NHS. The government also emphasised the need for local freedoms to determine how services should be delivered in relation to the choices and needs of patients and greater public and democratic accountability (Department of Health, 2010a). In addition, while the focus of less attention, the shift of public health from the NHS to LAs discussed in Chapter 8 has also had a profound effect on the commissioning and delivery of services. The broad range of PRUComm's research projects has revealed a series of common themes, which are also found in other research on developments during this period.
As highlighted in previous chapters, since the introduction of changes following the HSCA 2012 there has been a large increase in the complexity of health system governance. The number of bodies undertaking commissioning has increased in two ways: NHSE, PHE and LAs all have a role in commissioning aspects of health care, in addition to CCGs, which were the successor to PCTs; moreover, CCGs are smaller organisations than PCTs so there are many more of them. While the shift to CCGs and LA commissioning appears to fit with the White Paper's language of localism and decentralisation, freeing local commissioners from central control, the reality has been somewhat more mixed.
Under the HSCA 2012, NHSE was responsible for commissioning primary care services. However, in 2014 CCGs were invited to volunteer to take on responsibility for commissioning services from their member GP practices in addition to their wider responsibilities for commissioning acute and community services. This chapter draws upon research into the establishment of the ‘co-commissioning’ of primary care services by CCGs, which was conducted from April 2015 to April 2017 (McDermott et al, 2018). This chapter starts by exploring the history of primary care commissioning and financing in England and discusses the broad policy objectives which underpinned this significant change in CCGs’ role and scope. It examines whether and how the policy intention works in practice and explores factors affecting development of the policy, highlighting concerns over conflicts of interest, challenges in implementing the policy and unintended consequences. For clarity, the term ‘primary care commissioning’ is employed because this is the term used throughout the relevant policy documents. While globally the term ‘primary care’ often refers to the full range of out-of-hospital services, including community nursing and so on, in the UK, for the purposes of commissioning, a distinction is usually made between primary care (including GP services, and services provided by dentists and optometrists), secondary care (including standard hospital services), community care (including community nursing and a range of community-based services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and so on) and specialised care (including highcost, low-volume services). Following the HSCA 2012, CCGs were responsible for commissioning secondary and community care, whilst NHSE was responsible for primary and specialised care. In this book, references to primary care services predominantly mean primary medical care provided by GPs, as these are the services at which commissioning policy has been directed.
History of primary care commissioning and financing in England
The current primary care system in England is based on GPs being the contractors to the NHS rather than employees. This system was born out of the decision made at the establishment of the NHS in 1947 (Checkland et al, 2018b). This enabled GPs to remain independent of the NHS in a legal sense (although in reality the majority of practices depended overwhelmingly on NHS income), minimising their opposition to the NHS (Lewis, 1997; Peckham and Exworthy, 2003).
Since 1990, market mechanisms have occurred in the predominantly hierarchical National Health Service (NHS). The Health and Social Care Act 2012 led to concerns that market principles had been irrevocably embedded in the NHS and that the regulators would acquire unwarranted power compared with politicians (known as ‘juridification’). To assess this concern, we analysed regulatory activity in the period from 2015 to 2018. We explored how economic regulation of the NHS had changed in light of the policy turn back to hierarchy in 2014 and the changes in the legislative framework under Public Contracts Regulations 2015. We found the continuing dominance of hierarchical modes of control was reflected in the relative dominance and behaviour of the sector economic regulator. But there had also been a limited degree of juridification involving the courts. Generally, the regulatory decisions were consistent with the 2014 policy shift away from market principles and with the enduring role of hierarchy in the NHS, but the existing legislative regime did allow the incursion of pro market regulatory decision making, and instances of such decisions were identified.
Funding for mental health services in England faces many challenges, including operating under financial constraints where it is not easy to demonstrate the link between activity and funding. Mental health services need to operate alongside and collaborate with acute physical hospital services, where there is a well-established system for paying for activity. The funding landscape is shifting at a rapid pace and we outline the distinctions between the three main options – block contracts, episodic payment and capitation. Classification of treatment episodes via clustering presents an opportunity to demonstrate activity and reward it within these payment approaches. We discuss the results of our research into how well the clustering system is performing against a number of fundamental criteria. We find that, according to these criteria, clusters are falling short of providing a sound basis for measuring and financing services. Nevertheless, we argue that clustering is the best available option and is essential for a more transparent funding approach for mental healthcare to demonstrate its claim on resources, and that clusters should therefore be a starting point for evolving a better funding system.
• Understand the different payment models currently being used and proposed in mental health services in England
• Understand the role of clustering in measuring mental health activity and providing a basis for funding
• Understand how a robust model of clustering can benefit the provision of mental health services
The collection of results of a specific outcome measure, the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS), is mandatory for mental healthcare providers in the National Health Service in England. Not all providers collect HoNOS data and coverage varies widely. This paper explores, by means of interviews with clinicians and policy makers and econometric analysis of HoNOS data, the barriers and incentives to the uptake of HoNOS and outcomes more generally, and the key characteristics associated with providers who do undertake HoNOS.
The main barriers to the collection of outcomes involve a lack of adequate feedback mechanisms, a lack of perceived clinical relevance and poor information technology infrastructure. Econometric results show HoNOS collection is associated with providers who produce high-quality data.
Initiatives should focus on putting systems in place to encourage feedback mechanisms for clinicians.
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