AcoRD – Attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development

AcoRD is a framework for the NHS and its partners to identify, recover and attribute the costs of health and social care research.  AcoRD makes a clear distinction between the three costs: Research costs, NHS Support Costs and Treatment Costs and describes how these costs should be met.  

There are 3 sections to the guidance

  • Main section covers background, principles and attribution process
  • Annex A provides examples of activities and how they should be attributed (including Research Part A and Part B costs)
  • Annex B lists frequently asked questions

AcoRD focuses on the primary purpose of an activity and less on where that activity takes place or on who undertakes an activity.  Importance is placed on whether activities / services contribute to NHS patient care.

What is patient care? “A service provided by, or on behalf of, the NHS where that service treats, or contributes to, the care needs of a patient.”

Patient care costs are split into Support Costs and Treatment Costs.

Covers all activity that would end once the research study in question has stopped, even if the patient care continued to be provided.  Activities are primarily concerned with the safety of the patient, or a duty of care to the patient, during the study.  

Examples of Support Costs can be found here.

These are patient care costs which would continue to be incurred if the patient care service in question continued to be provided after the research study had stopped. The assumption with AcoRD is that all research will be successful.

Examples of Treatment Costs can be found here.

A research study may result in a patient service that differs from standard care.  The associated Treatment Cost may be less (cost saving) or may be greater, than the cost of standard treatment.  Where it is greater, the difference between the Treatment Cost and the cost of the standard treatment is referred to as the Excess Treatment Cost (ETC).  

Research Costs are NOT care costs.  They are activities that are being undertaken to answer the research question and only exist because the research exists.  Research Costs are met by grant funders through the award of a research grant, except for Research Part B costs if the funder is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).  

Examples of Research Costs can be found here.