Health Economists' Study Group (HESG) Meeting 21 - 23 June 2016


I attended the biannual Health Economists' Study Group (HESG) meeting which was hosted by the University College London (UCL) in Gran Canarias on the 21-23 June 2016 (

The meeting was well attended by 91 health economists across the UK and abroad. The University College London (UCL) was organising the meeting but research units from Universities of Sheffield, Birmingham, City, Office of Health Economics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) , Imperial College London, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Warwick, Oxford and others attended and contributed in the meeting as authors, discussants and chairs.

The setup of this meeting differs from a typical conference since authors have to submit full papers in advance rather than abstracts. A discussant is allocated to each paper in a hour session where the discussant has approximately 20min to discuss the paper, the author 10 min to reply to these comments and then the discussion opens to the floor for another 30min. Authors have to submit work-in-progress rather than ready-to-submit papers so as to maximise the benefits from a full discussion.

My paper entitled “Use of baseline health–related quality of life data within trial-based economic evaluations of interventions delivered in emergency or critical care settings: a systematic literature review” was discussed by Dr Joanna Thorn, University of Bristol. Joanna provided a very constructive feedback about the paper and gave very useful suggestions on how to take this paper forward.

Some highlights of the meeting, I thought, was the attempt by Spanish health economists to estimate a cost-effectiveness threshold for the Spanish NHS. In the UK we have a well-established willingness-to-pay threshold of £20,000-£30,000 per QALY. Another highlight is a current attempt to construct a standardised health economics resource use questionnaire to be used when capturing data from clinical trials. A very timely issue around increasing the weekend consultant to patient ratio was another paper which presented a protocol of evaluating this for the NHS explaining sources of acquiring cost and also ways of assessing the impact of this program.

I am also very grateful to the Royal Economic Society (RES) which supported part of my expenses with a travel grant of £300.00

The next HESG is hosted by the University of Birmingham 4th-6th January 2017 (in Central Birmingham).