Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Dr Sara McCafferty

Research Associate



PhD Healthcare Commissioning

MSc Business Administration (MBA), University of Ulster

BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, Northumbria University

Professional Roles and Responsibilities

Treasurer for the International Society on Priorities in Health Care

Deputy Module leader for Health Economics (MSc Public Health)

Member of FUSE Knowledge Exchange Group

Associate Member of Fuse

Health Economics advisor to Research Design Service (NE)

Post Graduate Support Co-ordinator 2010-2011

Referee for Journal of Applied Health Economics and Health Policy; Social Science and Medicine; Implementation Science; Health Policy; BioMed Central; Sage Open; Public Policy and Administration.





Areas of Interest

My main area of interest is commissioning, which is how public resources are used to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of the local population. Within this I am particularly interested in the application of Health Economics methods to improve priority setting, both within Public Health and within NHS settings. I am also interested in health policy and health care systems. I have a long term interest in working with developing countries, and am keen to develop links to facilitate this.

Current Work

Currently I am working on an NIHR project, specifically on the work packages within this programme which seek to identify what constitutes successful commissioning practice for healthcare transition. More information on the broader research project and the research team can be found at .

I am also working on a project funded by the School of Public Health Research which aims to support public health commissioners with priority setting. We are working with Health and Wellbeing Boards (newly established April 2012) to co-produce locally relevant decision making frameworks. These frameworks facilitate integrated decision making and knowledge transfer, whilst incorporating academically robust tools and techniques, and drawing on optimal evidence and data sources. Further information about this project is available at .

My PhD adopted a case study approach and was been fortunately placed to capture the impact of the White Paper (NHS White Paper, Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS), and subsequent Health and Social Care Bill. Given the number of revisions in this policy, the theory and application of change models has been used to inform this project, which was undertaken in conjunction with Newcastle University Business School.

Recently completed projects: ‘Competencies for World Class Commissioning (WCC)’, funded by the DH Policy Research Programme. This research used interviews with key informants and a literature review to analyse the aims of and stimulus for WCC. It found that although the aims and rationale of WCC were largely welcomed, the implementation was subject to a number of challenges. These included availability of resources and knowledge; lack of supportive organisational culture and networks and the dominance of central control.





Medicine in the Community Stage 1 &2 MBBS

Health Economics, EJR

Health Economics, MSc Health Service Research 

Public Health, MSc Public Health 

Health Economics, Faculty of Public Health