Health Res Policy Syst. 2023 Oct 23;21(1):108. doi: 10.1186/s12961-023-01061-y.
BACKGROUND: Long-term mental health (MH) policies in Finland aimed at investing in community care and promoting reforms have led to a reduction in the number of psychiatric hospital beds. However, most resources are still allocated to hospital and community residential services due to various social, economic and political factors. Despite previous research focussing on the number and cost of these services, no study has evaluated the emerging patterns of use, their technical performance and the relationship with the workforce structure.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to observe the patterns of use and their technical performance (efficiency) of the main types of care of MH services in the Helsinki-Uusimaa region (Finland), and to analyse the potential relationship between technical performance and the corresponding workforce structure.
METHODS: The sample included acute hospital residential care, non-hospital residential care and outpatient care services. The analysis was conducted using regression analysis, Monte Carlo simulation, fuzzy inference and data envelopment analysis.
RESULTS: The analysis showed a statistically significant linear relationship between the number of service users and the length of stay, number of beds in non-hospital residential care and number of contacts in outpatient care services. The three service types displayed a similar pattern of technical performance, with high relative technical efficiency on average and a low probability of being efficient. The most efficient acute hospital and outpatient care services integrated multidisciplinary teams, while psychiatrists and nurses characterized non-hospital residential care.
CONCLUSIONS: The results indicated that the number of resources and utilization variables were linearly related to the number of users and that the relative technical efficiency of the services was similar across all types. This suggests homogenous MH management with small variations based on workforce allocation. Therefore, the distribution of workforce capacity should be considered in the development of effective policies and interventions in the southern Finnish MH system.