Boost for health and social care in the East Midlands

An organisation dedicated to improving health and social care in the East Midlands through cutting-edge innovation has had its funding extended.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands drives improvements to health and social care by speeding up the adoption of research and innovation into frontline health and care practice.

The organisation is a partnership of health and social care universities, industry, the voluntary sector and patients and its current contract with the NIHR was due to end in 2024, but has now been extended until 31 March 2026. 

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Director of the NIHR ARC East Midlands and Professor of Primary Care, Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “This funding extension means we can continue our work to tackle the region’s health and care priorities, while leading world class, applied health research across the East Midlands. 

ARC East Midlands is the national ARC lead for research into multiple long-term conditions and equality, diversity and inclusion of under-represented groups.

The team rose to this responsibility by playing a key role in the response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Within weeks of the start of the national lockdown, Director, Professor Khunti CBE, became one of the first to spot signs of a disproportionate impact of the virus on those from ethnic minority communities. 

Then as more evidence emerged to support this concerning trend, ARC East Midlands responded to its national brief. The team led a programme of work to address COVID 19 and ethnic disparities.

Since the beginning of ARC East Midlands, the organisation has made significant progress. As of March 2023, the organisation has published 453 peer reviewed papers, supported or funded 67 projects – 16 of which were specifically dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19. 

Additionally, ARC East Midlands has collaborated with 60 partners, expanding its impact across various sectors. 

Professor Khunti added: “We were proud to swiftly react to some of the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic in line with our expertise on the following key themes: multiple long term-conditions (MLTC), building community resilience and enabling independence, data2health, ethnicity and health inequalities, mental health and wellbeing and translating and implementing sustainable service improvement. 

“We look forward to continuing to improve the health and social care outcomes of these communities as well as those from across the East Midlands.”

NIHR ARC East Midlands is hosted by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and works in collaboration with Health Innovation East Midlands. It was formed in 2014 under the name of NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research (CLAHRC) East Midlands before becoming ARC East Midlands in 2019.The organisation has bases at the University of Leicester and the University of Nottingham.