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Service evaluation

Service Evaluations:

The following is taken from NRES Guidance and UH Bristol Operational Guidance on research, audit and service evaluation. More information is  given in these documents.

  • Aim to judge a service's effectiveness or efficiency through systematic assessment of its aims, objectives, activities, outputs, outcomes and costs
  • Asks questions like - "has this service been a success?" or "how satisfied are patients with the service being provided?"
  • Are often specific to a department or clinical area within the Trust
  • Never involve allocating service users randomly to different treatment groups
  • May also be used to compare the effectiveness or efficiency of a new practice/service (where supported by evidence) with an existing one - however this would be for the purpose of local comparison, i.e. not with a view to derive generalisable or transferrable results (which would be research)
  • Whilst benchmarking may be used to compare services, the evaluation will not involve measurement against agreed standards (which would be clinical audit)
  • Generates evidence of effectiveness of a service which may lead to service redesign

There is no service evaluation department at UH Bristol, and no statistical or other advice available for such projects from Research & Innovation. If you are a trainee or postgraduate, then your supervisor should provide the necessary support.

If service evaluations are done as part of an audit or as preparatory work for a grant application then advice may be available. Contact:

Patient Involvement:

Service evaluations may involve input from patients at a number of levels, e.g. patients may be asked to participate in surveys which help to determine the effectiveness or efficiency of a service; patients may be involved in the design of individual projects or whole programmes of improvement activity. More information is available from the Patient Experience Team or contact

Focus Groups/Unstructured Interviews:

If you are conducting a focus group or unstructured interview as part of a service evaluation or audit, you should contact Tony Watkin ( or call 0117 34 23729) who will be able to provide you with general advice.