Welsh Health Economists’ Group (WHEG)

A key date in the Health and Care Economics Cymru calendar is the Annual Meeting of the Welsh Health Economists’ Group (WHEG), funded by Health and Care Research Wales through Welsh Government.  

These annual meetings provide a valuable opportunity for Health and Care Economics Cymru-funded PhD students and researchers across Wales and public sector health economists to discuss their current activities and plans with regard to research, teaching and policy support. This is a great opportunity for PhD students and early career researchers to present their own work through presentations and poster displays in a friendly and supportive environment. WHEG also enables colleagues across health and social care organisations to gain awareness of health economics and access a community of expertise.  

Welsh Health Economists Group 2023

Responding to the challenges ahead: Diversity in Health Economics.

This year’s Welsh Health Economists Group (WHEG) welcomed over forty delegates to our online annual meeting.  The meeting generated discussion around current activities and plans regarding research, teaching and policy support and provided the opportunity to meet with colleagues who joined us from other Health and Care Research Wales Infrastructure Groups and Trials Units. Professor Deb Fitzsimmons opened the event with an introduction from Health and Care Economics Cymru. Our guest speakers were Murray Smith, Professor of Rural Health Economics, Aberystwyth University and Professor Mary Lynch, Executive Vice Dean for Research, Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). We were also delighted to welcome Research Officers Abraham Makanjuola, Katherine Cullen and Senior Lecturer Dr Ceryl Davies, who spoke about their research from our health economics centres at Bangor and Swansea Universities.

For this year’s WHEG meeting, we posed the question: ‘How as health economists, can we contribute our research and policy support to the unprecedented challenges across our health and care systems and perhaps, wider society?’ Professor Murray Smith discussed health-related behaviours gleaned from his career in Australia, Scotland, and England before joining Aberystwyth University last year. Professor Mary Lynch gave an overview of a large bid in progress and insights into the process.

screenshot of a Teams event with people watching the screen
Professor Murray Smith presenting at the WHEG 2023 Annual Meeting

Abraham provided key themes from the 2023 International Health Economics Association (IHEA) congress, which was held for the first time in a Low or Middle-Income Country (Cape Town, South Africa). These themes centred around the diversification of health economics within the context and challenges facing us at global level, such as climate change. Abraham’s presentation provided much to consider regarding the challenge we face as a community of health economists across Wales and beyond. There is strength in how we apply our health economist thinking, tools and methods to complex, real-world problems. However, we are mindful that there is also the potential challenge that this could be seen as dilution, such as approaching other methods outside our ‘traditional economics basket’.

The day was closed by Professor Rhiannon Tudor Edwards, who reflected on how the stories and examples presented by our invited speakers showcased health economics research to solve real-world challenges within Wales, the UK and globally. 

Interested in joining WHEG? 

 To find out more about WHEG and our annual meetings, please contact Ann Lawton, Health and Care Economics Cymru Administrator, a.b.lawton@bangor.ac.uk 

WHEG 2022

Our annual Welsh Health Economics Group meeting (WHEG) remains a key opportunity to bring together the Welsh health economics community to share our work and discuss developments in relation to policy and research. In November 2022, we welcomed over fifty attendees from across academia, Health and Care Research Wales infrastructure groups, Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and NHS Wales. Following presentations by Professor Emma McIntosh (University of Glasgow) and HCEC researchers, an expert panel session consisting of Dr Brendan Collins (Head of Health Economics for Welsh Government), Dr Joanna Charles (Deputy Head of Health Economics for Welsh Government), Rebecca Masters (Health Economist for Public Health Wales) and Matthew Prettyjohns (Principal Researcher Health Economist at Health Technology Wales) discussed the health economics case for prevention and well-being.  


WHEG 2020

We were delighted to welcome over 40 colleagues to our two-hour WHEG event on 19th October 2020 (this year held online due to the
COVID-19 pandemic). Professors Deb Fitzsimmons and Rhiannon Tudor Edwards, Health and Care Economics Cymru co-directors, began the meeting with a celebration of the retirement and long-standing career of Professor Emeritus Ceri Phillips, Swansea University. Professor Phillips has had a distinguished career as a health economist, often acting as the media voice of health economics in both Welsh and English. Professor Phillips then expanded on the introduction and emphasised in his presentation ‘Approaching the fair innings threshold’ that prudent healthcare is still at the core of ‘value-based healthcare’ in Wales. This was followed by three internal speakers from Swansea University and Bangor University. Dr Mari Jones from the Swansea Centre for Health Economics (SCHE) presented on ‘The cost-effectiveness of the use of radiotherapy in addition to stent placement for patients with advanced stage oesophageal cancer’, and Dr Katherine Cullen from SCHE presented her research
on ‘The costs of hepatocellular carcinoma for NHS England: A registry-based analysis’. From the Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME) at Bangor University, Dr Emily Holmes provided details of her Senior Research Award Fellowship regarding antibiotic resistance and patient behaviour. These short presentations reflected the breadth of collaborative health economics work underway across Wales. Our final guest speaker, Dr Brendan Collins, Head of Health Economics, Welsh Government, concluded the event with his talk on the Government’s approach to managing the pandemic, ‘Covid-19: a health shock and economic shock’, including the fire-break lockdown.