Heart Surgery Priority Setting Partnership

heart research logoThe Heart Surgery Priority Setting Partnership is a collaboration between the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester and the James Lind Alliance (JLA). The JLA is a non-profit-making initiative that brings patients, carers and clinicians together in Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs). 

These partnerships identify and prioritise uncertainties, or ‘unanswered questions’, about the effects of treatments that they agree are the most important. The aim of this is to help ensure that those who fund health research are aware of what really matters to both patients and clinicians. These questions, if addressed by researchers, could help with the progression of modern medicine and be to the benefit of patients.

The Heart Surgery PSP was established following a workshop held on the 13 February 2017 that sought to develop a national research strategy in cardiovascular surgery. The main conclusion of the workshop was that an agreed set of research priorities would be welcomed by the main funders of research into cardiovascular disease. In November 2017 the Board of Heart Research UK agreed to fund the PSP in full with a grant of £80,000. This provides funding for key staff and resources, and ensures that the PSP will be a success.

The James Lind Alliance (JLA) Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) concluded in 2019 and identified the top 10 unanswered research priorities in adult cardiac surgery, for patients, carers and clinicians. The next phase of the initiative aims to translate these research priorities into a national programme of clinical trials that will inform best practice.

With funding from Heart Research UK and infrastructure support from the BHF Clinical Research Collaborative, the National Cardiac Surgery Clinical Trials initiative was established. This has been endorsed by both the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland (SCTS) and the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) Trials Initiative.

The initiative is being supported by the new British Heart Foundation Data Science Centre (HDSC), who have chosen cardiac surgery as a vanguard for the development of a novel health data science platform that will support the design and implementation of pragmatic data-enabled clinical trials.

In this initiative, we have been able to bring together all major stakeholders from across the UK to contribute to the development of a successful patient centered research programme, where patients, researchers and clinicians would be represented equally.

Over 220 participants have registered to take part in this initiative so far. Nine separate clinical study groups (CSG) have been established; each led in equal partnership, by patients, clinicians and health service researchers.

Each Clinical Study Group will host a series of webinars in order to define areas of uncertainty, develop research themes that will shape the agenda for a national heart surgery research programme, and pump prime potential research teams who can come together to develop high quality research proposals for funders.

As part of this initiative, a national cardiac surgery Patient and Public Involvement Group was established. This group consists of all the patient moderators from the nine separate clinical study groups. The aim is to give national networks of public representatives a role in shaping the research agenda, and to participate in all aspects of the resulting research programme.