Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


RSET: The Rapid Service Evaluation Team

The health and care system in the UK looks after an ageing population with increasingly complex care needs, but money is tight. This means the NHS needs to:

1.        develop new ways of providing care and,

2.        when a new approach works well, understand and share learning about that success with other parts of the health and care system quickly.

To meet this challenge, the Rapid Service Evaluation Team (‘RSET’), comprising health service researchers, health economists and other colleagues from University College London and the Nuffield Trust, have come together to rapidly evaluate new ways of providing and organising care.   We have been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Service and Delivery Research (HS&DR) programme for five years, starting on April 1st 2018. The NIHR HS&DR programme have also funded a second team, the Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge Evaluation (‘BRACE’) Centre, which is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, RAND Europe, the University of Cambridge and National Voices. The two teams will coordinate their evaluation programmes to maximise benefits from our work.

What are we doing?

We are studying the latest changes in health and care services, and provide meaningful lessons about these changes in a timely manner.

We are looking at changes in terms of:

1.        the impact of services on how well patients do (e.g. their quality of life, how likely patients are to recover)

2.        whether services give people the right care at the right time

3.        whether these services are good value for money

4.        how changes are put into practice, and what patients, carers, and staff think about how the changes happened and whether they think the changes made a difference

5.        what lessons there are for the rest of the NHS and care.

What are we evaluating?

We are evaluating service innovations – those driven both by national policy, and local needs – from innovative organisational hospital forms such as hospital groups and innovations in the management of services to new ways of delivering services to patients, and quality improvement initiatives.

We are working with our Stakeholder Advisory Board (a specially selected group of national experts, including patient and public representatives from a wide range of settings) and others to identify health and care innovations to evaluate. 

How are we evaluating?

Different service innovations will require different approaches to their evaluation. We are using a range of quantitative and qualitative approaches as appropriate to each evaluation, including, analyses of administrative and other datasets, economic analysis, stakeholder interviews and focus groups, surveys and discrete choice experiments.

How are we sharing results?

We want the findings from our research to have a timely impact. We believe that sharing findings as they emerge will increase their impact and benefit for patients, the public, and the health and care systems. Therefore we share our findings rapidly with the people who are making changes.

For each project, we are working with our partners to agree how best to share lessons from our work effectively. We are experts in doing this, and have excellent links with health and care services across the country.

We are also making use of user-friendly summaries, blogs (see below) and webpages, workshops, present at conferences, and publish research articles that can be read freely by the public.

Who do we work with?

We involve patients, and the public, clinicians, and those running health and care services at every stage of our research, both within projects and across the programme as a whole.

We work closely with the NIHR, and be guided by our Stakeholder Advisory Board, which looks at

1.        whether we are doing what we set out to do

2.        keep us up to date on the latest service changes, and

3.        tell us what they think about our new plans for research.

Principal Investigator/Co-Directors:

Professor John Appleby, Nuffield Trust

Professor Naomi Fulop, University College London

Professor Steve Morris, University of Cambridge


Mr Theo Georghiou, Nuffield Trust

Dr Jean Ledger, University College London

Dr Angus Ramsay, University College London

Mr Chris Sherlaw-Johnson, Nuffield Trust

Dr  Cecilia Vindrola-Padros, University College London

Funder:  National Institute for Health Research Services & Delivery Research Programme

Start Date: 2018

Duration: 5 years


Prof Naomi Fulop (Chief Investigator): n.fulop@ucl.ac.uk

Pei Li Ng (Project Manager): pei.ng@ucl.ac.uk