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Needs Assessment

Understanding the health needs of your population to support service delivery

Using evidence to identify the needs of a population and determine what services they most require is essential for effective decision making. We work in collaboration with local services and service users to provide high quality evidence to better understand the current and future needs of your local population.

Our process

A needs assessment is designed specially to meet your particular requirements by, for example:

  • Describing the local context and identifying local services
  • Understanding the roles and responsibilities of the organisations who commission and deliver local services
  • Engaging with local stakeholders and service users to understand their needs and experience of care
  • Incorporating health intelligence data with benchmarking against peer group areas
  • Synthesis and analysis of relevant local and national datasets
  • Reviewing published evidence to identify the most appropriate and cost effective interventions and solutions
  • Highlighting gaps in service provision
  • Producing recommendations and an action plan for implementation

Hexagon labelled Needs Assessment surrounded by hexagons labelled Interviews, Workshops, Population analyses, Document review, Literature review, Focus group

Why choose SPH?

We have significant experience and expertise in carrying out needs assessments for a range of customers and focussing on different populations. These include:

  • Joint Strategic Needs Assessments for local authorities
  • Palliative care
  • Mental Health
  • Substance misuse
  • Sexual health

Please get in touch via our contact page.

Case Studies

Improving allocative value decision-making in the stroke pathway (STAR tool)

The Mid and South Essex stroke stewardship group wanted to better understand which of the interventions they delivered were high value and which were low value to inform decision-making on use of resources and investment. Arden & GEM’s Healthcare Solutions team provided training and support to enable the group to use the Socio-Technical Allocation of Resources (STAR) process in value based decision-making. As a result, the MSE stroke stewardship group has the insight needed to improve the allocation of their existing resources and improve outcomes for their patients. SPH were part of the project team, conducting a librarian review of economic evidence relating to cost-effectiveness of the stroke interventions to feed into the first workshop. This comprised a review of existing economic cost-effectiveness assessments (ideally by NICE as these are recognised as the guiding authority within the NHS). Where an economic assessment had not been undertaken then this was noted for further consideration. More detail here

Health Needs Assessment for Children & Young People

SPH carried out a Health Needs Assessment for a local authority that was recommissioning its Healthy Child Programme (HCP). The purpose was to review whether existing provision and service configuration of the HCP was meeting the needs of children and young people in the county, and to identify gaps and potential options for improvement. This is a preventative programme which includes Health Visiting and School Nursing Services, Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) Programme and healthy start vouchers and vitamins, linking with childhood immunisation services, community paediatrics, speech and language, services for children with a learning disability and complex needs and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), among others. The HNA was carried out jointly by SPH and the local authority, with the epidemiological needs assessment and service description provided by the local authority. The report was compiled using a range of publicly available and locally collected epidemiological and service use data. In addition, SPH carried out a consultation of key corporate stakeholders as well as children and young people, their parents and carers. This included semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in a range of organisations, a survey of a wider range of staff who work with children and young people and a survey of children and young people, their parents and cares which was distributed through the services.

Mental health needs assessments

SPH completed mental health needs assessments focusing variously on children and young people, working age adults and older people for a number of local authority customers. The aims of these needs assessments included identifying the prevalence of risk and protective factors for mental wellbeing, quantifying proxy measures for the burden of mental illness and benchmarking these against regional and national averages. Current service provision across the statutory and voluntary sectors was described and service providers, wider stakeholders and service users and carers participated though workshops, interviews and focus groups. Accompanying literature reviews considered prevention and early intervention for mental health conditions. The reports identified gaps and issues to inform future commissioning plans.

Substance misuse needs assessment

SPH recently completed a substance misuse needs assessment. This included identifying national and local policy for substance misuse provision, identifying the local prevalence of substance misuse conditions and quantifying proxy measures for the burden of drug and alcohol misuse. SPH also mapped existing substance misuse services and facilitated a workshop with commissioners, service providers and service users and conducted telephone interviews with stakeholders. The needs assessment also included a literature review on primary prevention for substance misuse. A number of recommendations were made around gaps in service provision and capacity, including recommendations for specific groups of service users.