A partnership that carries out health research in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, with direct benefits to patients’ health and NHS care delivery, has secured a further £9m in funding for the next five years.
The National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care in the South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC), a partner of the South West Academic Health Science Network, was established as one of the first nine CLAHRCs in the country in 2008 and is and is a partnership between the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and NHS organisations across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.
Since 2008 NIHR PenCLAHRC has conducted and supported projects which have had a significant impact on patient care and the way in which services are delivered. In 2018 The NIHR launched a new competition to designate and fund NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (NIHR ARCs), a new approach to the NIHR CLAHRCs of previous years. PenCLAHRC submitted their application to the NIHR to secure designation and funding for five years as an NIHR ARC in autumn 2018, and were informed of their success during January this year.
A central part of the way the collaboration works is to conduct research based on questions from the people directly affected by the issues under investigation: doctors, nurses, therapists and, importantly, patients.
Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said: “As the population grows and demand on the NHS increases, it is paramount we develop the next generation of technologies and improve the way we work to ensure the NHS continues to offer world-leading care.
“The UK has a proud history of cutting edge health research and by supporting the great minds in health and social care, this funding has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare and revolutionise the way patients access treatments in the future.”
Project highlights include: enabling the implementation of a cheap, easily available drug which is delivered by paramedics to reduce the risk of death from haemorrhage after trauma; developing an intervention to reduce obesity in school children; creating partnerships to improve health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities in the most deprived neighbourhoods; risk assessment tools to help GPs identify and quantify a patient’s risk of cancer based on their symptoms and the plotting of ‘care pathways’ to ensure that victims of stroke receive a drug vital to a fuller recovery within an effective timescale.
A particular area of strength in which NIHR PenCLAHRC took a national lead is the meaningful involvement of patients and the public in research. Patients and members of the public take an active role in research, helping to set the research agenda, working with researchers to design and conduct studies and helping to make sure that the results get used in practice. This Patient Public Involvement (PPI) activity will continue to be a key component of NIHR PenARC activities over the next five years.
Professor Stuart Logan, Director of NIHR PenCLAHRC, commented: “We are delighted to have secured funding for the NIHR-ARC which will allow us to build on what has been achieved by PenCLAHRC. This award is a tribute the fantastic work carried out by our staff and partners over the last 10 years. These resources will enable us to generate and mobilise research evidence to improve people’s health and the services they use. We will continue to be driven by our partnership with patients and members of the public, clinicians and NHS organisations to ensure that we focus on what really matters.”