Investigation of the value placed on the National Clinical Assessment Service by referrers in the National Health Service

In 2008 around 800 performance concern cases were referred to the attention of the NHS National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) from all parts of the UK. These cases required NCAS support, which ranges from phone advice to major and multidimensional assessment with the possibility of suspending or excluding the healthcare professional. A ‘mixed methods’ approach was used to investigate NHS organisations’ preferences for the services provided by NCAS. The study combined interviews, discussion groups and a discrete choice experiment (DCE). The discussion groups explored which aspects of the services provided by NCAS are important and why, and the discussion groups were used to identify drivers of preference heterogeneity for NCAS services. The focus groups and discussion groups informed the DCE, which was administered during 2010. The final report was published in June 2010 by NCAS. This project informed NCAS about the value to NHS organisations of clinical performance support services.

Outcome and Translation

The results of this study can be used to assess the value for money of NCAS, and can inform future changes to the range of services which they provide.

HERU researchers involved in this research project: Verity Watson and Mandy Ryan

External collaborators: J Sussex (Office of Health Economics)


Sussex, J., Watson, V., Tetteh, E. and Ryan, M. (2010) Investigation of the value placed on NCAS services by referrers in the NHS, National Clinical Assessment Service.

Watson, V., Sussex, J., Ryan, M. and Tetteh, E. (2012) 'Managing poorly performing clinicians: health care providers' willingness to pay for independent help', Health Policy, 104(3), 260-271.


Sussex, J. and Watson, V. (2010) 'Valuing performance support services', European Conference on Health Economics, Helsinki, Finland., 7-10th July 2010.

Sussex, J., Watson, V. and Ryan, M. (2010) 'Investigating the value to NHS referrers of support with performance concerns', European Conference on Health Economics, Helsinki, July 2010.