East Midlands gets £9 million health boost

An organisation committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the East Midlands by speeding up the adoption of research and innovation into frontline health and care practice will continue for another five years after being awarded £9 million.

The funding from the Government’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will enable more vital work to take place to tackle the region’s health and care priorities, putting in place more evidenced-based frameworks to drive up standards of care and save time and money.

NIHR CLAHRC (Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care) East Midlands was formed in 2014 and thanks to the new funding it will continue until at least 2024.

It is a partnership of health and social care universities, industry, the voluntary sector and patients which sets out to improve patient outcomes by turning research into cost-saving and high-quality care through cutting-edge innovation.

With bases at the University of Nottingham and University of Leicester, it will continue under the new name of NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARC) East Midlands from Tuesday 1 October and will also have a remit to lead nationally on research into black and minority ethnic communities and multimorbidity thanks to its expertise in these areas.

ARC East Midlands will be hosted by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and work in collaboration with the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network. There will also be a significant match funding from partners, including the University of Leicester and University of Nottingham, from across the region to support the organisation.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, who is the Director of the NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands and is also a Professor of Primary Care, Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “Receiving this funding means we can continue to lead world class, applied health research across the East Midlands and build on the successes we have already achieved in speeding up the adoption of research and innovation into frontline health and care.

“We are also proud to be leading nationally on multimorbidity and equality, diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups, areas where we have dedicated expertise and a track record in delivering cutting-edge research. We have a strong pedigree in research on multimorbidity in particular cardiometabolic disease and have established the Centre for BME Health, where our work has been helping to reduce health inequalities. We will share our knowledge nationally and collaborate with colleagues as we all collectively work towards improving the lives of people through research.”

Mark Howells is Head of Research and Evidence at Nottinghamshire Healthcare. He said: “We are absolutely delighted and proud to be the host of the East Midlands ARC. The research and innovation facilitated by this collaboration across the East Midlands is making a real difference to patients with a wide variety of physical and mental health problems. The more we can innovate the more we can implement brand new treatments and strategies, which really improve lives. This is very good news for the East Midlands and the wider health community.”

Mike Hannay, Managing Director at the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN), said: “We’re delighted that ARC have received this funding to further the valuable work they undertake. The rapid adoption and spread of innovation in health and care is paramount to patients.

“The ARC have a fundamental role in research and real world validation to ensure resources are dedicated to the right innovations at the right time. We’ve worked with ARC on many of our programmes, one example is the great collaboration on our ADHD innovation programme which uses digital technology to speed up diagnosis in children benefiting patients, their families and the NHS. This innovation is now active in 41 NHS trusts and 73 clinics in England. We look forward to continuing to work in collaboration with the ARC to support health and care innovation in the East Midlands and beyond.”

Elizabeth Moss, Chief Operating Officer for the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) East Midlands said: “More people than ever before are taking part in clinical research in the East Midlands which is testament to our region’s reputation for delivering high-quality research. 

“This important investment will ensure that we continue to conduct research that benefits patients and members of the public. We look forward to working closely with the NIHR ARC East Midlands to tackle health care priorities in our region and beyond.”

Work carried out by NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands includes helping to prevent Type 2 diabetes by embedding an education programme designed to help people avoid the condition. The project has provided learning which has been used in the bidding process, refinement and implementation of the National Diabetes Prevention Programme in the East Midlands.

In April last year, the organisation also continued to support the rollout of a risk score for Type 2 diabetes in South Asian languages with the release of a Punjabi version following Gujarati and Bangladeshi versions.

It has been helping lead the Leicester Diabetes Model of Care evaluation, which will shortly be presented to Clinical Commissioning Groups in Britain as well as health service providers in China and India.

Other successes include implementing and assessing an online tool that assists diagnosing children with ADHD, which initial evaluation shows that it can lower NHS costs by 22 per cent and also reduces delays to diagnosis of the condition by average of 145 days.

In another study, an evaluation of an exercise programme to help prevent older people from falling was completed with the results having been turned into an implementation toolkit and shared nationally.

The funding is part of a £135 million commitment made by DHSC to drive improvements to healthcare by helping to embed the learning from research into the frontline of healthcare sooner.