PenCLAHRC matters @PenCLAGRC

Welcome to the December edition of the PenCLAHRC Matters newsletter. The period between the summer and Christmas seems to be particularly busy, and this year has proved to be no exception.

Our operational modelling team, PenCHORD, are launching an exciting new training programme, which aims to train those working in health care to undertake and deliver operational research projects within their own organisations.

I am pleased to be able to report on the continued success of our patient-initiated clinics project, which has been shortlisted for a best practice award, and on our Evidence Synthesis Team, who have just been awarded a grant to explore the important topic of the mental health of young people with long-term health conditions.

I would also encourage you to watch the video of Kath Maguire’s recent TEDx talk. In it, Kath talks movingly about her experiences as a carer and what inspired her to become a researcher. It was a reminder to me of why what we do, as clinicians and researchers, is so important.

I hope that you all have a relaxing festive period and look forward to seeing you in 2016.

With best wishes,

Stuart Logan
Director of PenCLAHRC

Launch of new Health Service Modelling Associates Programme

PenCLAHRC’s operational research team, PenCHORD, are pleased to launch their new Health Service Modelling Associates Programme (HSMA) – a scheme which aims to increase the impact and awareness of operational research within the NHS across the South West. The pilot programme will see the associates undertake advanced modelling, simulation and analysis work for, and within, their own organisations.

Applicants will need to be from the PenCLAHRC area (Devon, Cornwall and Somerset) with the programme most suited to those working in acute trusts in the region. HSMAs are expected to be released from their regular role for one day per week for a period of 12 months, starting from April 2016.

The closing date for applications is 15th February 2016. For more information on the programme, and for details on how to apply, visit the HSMA webpage.

Improving the mental health of children with long-term conditions

A team from PenCLAHRC and the University of Exeter, in collaboration with clinicians from Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Institute of Child Health at University College London, have been awarded a grant of £285,000 from the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme to carry out a study which aims to improve the understanding of the best ways to support children and young people with long term physical health conditions. Many young people experience feelings of depression and anxiety, as a result of their physical condition, and display disruptive behaviour, which in turn can cause problems for the treatment and management of their condition.

The project team will work with children and young people with first-hand experience of long-term conditions and mental health issues, and their families, as well as the health care practitioners that work with them to ensure that the work is meaningful and relevant.

You can read more here.

Project Focus: Diagnosing heart attacks in A&E

In the UK, chest pain is the most common cause of hospital admissions. The NHS spends a significant amount of money on procedures for patients, in order to rule out the possibility of a heart attack.

This PenCHORD project has explored the effectiveness of using a drug (high sensitivity cardiac troponin) to diagnosis heart attacks quickly and reliably, thus speeding up treatment for those needing it and by reducing unnecessary tests for those not having a heart attack.

The project found variation in practice in the use of troponin across the South West and has identified the complexity of the diagnostic pathway for heart attacks and many barriers to the effective implementation of troponin.

You can read more about the project on its webpage.

Championing Public
Engagement at TEDx Totnes

Dr Kath Maguire, from our Patient and Public Involvement team, was recently invited to give a talk at TEDx Totnes.

This year’s theme for TEDx Totnes was “In Our Hands?” and explored the topic of whether the future is really in our hands and what we can do to create and sculpt our future. Kath’s talk, entitled “Pushing Open Doors”, provided a moving account of her experiences of being a carer for a chronically ill child and her struggles to navigate health and social care provision. These struggles, and those of other families, inspired her to pursue an academic career researching the role of patients and families in health care decision-making and to become a champion for public engagement.

You can watch Kath’s talk on our website.

Patient-Initiated Clinics project shortlisted for Best Practice award

We are pleased to announce that our Patient-Initiated Clinics (PIC) project has been shortlisted by the British Society for Rheumatology in its Best Practice Awards.

The project evaluated Derriford Hospital’s ‘Direct Access’ scheme, which allows rheumatoid arthritis patients to self-manage their condition, allowing them to book an appointment whenever their condition worsened, instead of waiting for pre-arranged appointments, which are often unnecessary.

This innovative and patient-led approach has led to the project being recognised in the ‘Patient Self-Management and Decision-Making’ Category of the awards, which will take place in March next year.
PIC project team, Picture credit: Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

PenCLAHRC Director talks to BBC Radio Devon about ‘sugar tax’

PenCLAHRC Director, Professor Stuart Logan, was interviewed recently by Simon Bates on BBC Radio Devon regarding the ongoing debate on the implementation of a tax on sugary drinks. In the interview, Professor Logan highlighted the dangers of childhood obesity and the positive effects that could come from an increased tax on high sugar items.

You can listen to the programme via the BBC iPlayer until 29th December, after which you can listen via this link (article starts at 35mins 50seconds).

Announcement of new Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health

Professor Dame Sally Davies has announced that she will be retiring from her role as Director General, Research and Development at the Department of Health. Her successor will be Professor Chris Whitty, who will take the post of Chief Scientific Adviser. Dame Sally will continue her role as Chief Medical Officer.

Professor Whitty’s role will include overall responsibility for the Department of Health’s Research and Development budget (including the NIHR) and for research policy. He will take up his new position during December.

Dr Louise Woods has also been appointed to replace Dr Russell Hamilton, Director of Research and Development at the Department of Health, when he retires next year. Dr Woods is currently on secondment as Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Association of Medical Research Charities.

PenCLAHRC opportunities

Research Fellow, Evidence Synthesis Team
Closing date: 17th January 2016
You can view the job specification here, for more details and to apply, visit the University of Exeter jobs webpage.

Graduate Trainee Information Specialist
Closing date: 14th January 2016
You can find more details via the job advert.

PenCLAHRC Staff News
Welcome to our new members of staff:

Dr Victoria Field – SWARM Research Fellow
Dr Bogdan Grigore – Associate Research Fellow
Sana Vankampen – Research Assistant

Meet current PenCLAHRC staff and students online via our Staff Database.

Events Diary

Searching and Review Clinic
Whether you are an academic or an NHS professional who needs to know where to start on the systematic review process or how to go about designing a search strategy, you can book an appointment with one of our reviewers or information specialists. For further information and future dates click here.

Learning, Knowing, Doing Seminar: Patterns of a GP prescribing behaviour: Insights into GP’s adoption of innovation
Guest speaker: Professor Philip Stern from the University of Exeter Business School.
Date: 13th January
Time: 12.30 – 13.30
Click here for more information.

Searching and Beyond: The Librarian’s role in systematic reviews
This one day, hands-on, interactive workshop, offers librarians and information professionals the chance to discover more about the systematic review process and how many of the skills they already have can be utilised within a systematic review.

Date: 14th January 2016
Time: 10am – 5pm
Click here for more information.

PenCHORD Training – Module 3
In this module, students will learn some simple but effective problem structuring techniques and apply them to real problems from their own organisations. We will be running the same training programme in both Plymouth and Exeter.

Date:
28th January in Exeter. Click here for more information
2nd February in Plymouth. Click here for more information
Time: 10am – 5pm.

13th PenCHORD Seminar, Showcase and Workshop Event
Guest speaker Professor John Powell, will be talking about the role of knowledge and knowledge availability in the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and how this is being explored using a qualitative Systems Dynamics model. The interactive afternoon session will include a Route Optimisation workshop.

Date: 4th February
Location: 112 Baring Court, St Luke’s Campus
Time: 10am – 3.30pm

Click here for more information.

Waking up to Epilepsy
Learn about the nature of epilepsy in adults and children, the conditions with which it can be confused, its investigation and treatment, its implications for mood and cognition, and the experience of patients during our one day conference.

Date: 20th April 2016
Time: 9am – 5pm
Click here for more information

For information about all our events, see the PenCLAHRC events webpages.

Recent Publications

Blake S, Logan S, Humphreys G, Matthews J, Rogers M, Thompson-Coon J, Wyatt K, Morris . Sleep positioning for children with cerebral palsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Monks T, Pearson M, Pitt M, Stein K, James M. Evaluating the impact of a simulation study in emergency stroke care. Operations Research for Health Care

Welsman J, Gibson A, Heaton J, Britten N. Involving patients and the public in healthcare operational research. British Medical Journal

Newlove-Delgado T, Moore D, Ukoumunne O, Stein K, Ford T. Mental health related contact with education professionals in the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey 2004. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

Gibson A, Boddy K, Maguire K, Britten N. Exploring the impact of providing evidence-based medicine training to service users. Research Involvement and Engagement

Levack WMM, Weatherall M, Hay-Smith EJC, Dean S, McPhearson K, Siegart RJ. Goal setting and strategies to enhance goal pursuit for adults with acquired disability participating in rehabilitation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Byng R, Wheat H, Barnes RK. Fit for work? How GPs’ decisions about fitness to work can improve health. British Journal of General Practice

Morris C, Janssens A, Shilling V, Allard A, Fellowes A, Tomlinson R, Williams J, Thompson-Coon J, Rogers M, Beresford B, Green C, Jenkinson C, Tennant A, Logan S. Meaningful health outcomes for paediatric neurodisability: stakeholder prioritisation and appropriateness of patient reported outcome measures. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes

Warmoth K, Lang I, Phoenix C, Abraham C, Andrew MK, Hubbard RE, Tarrant M. “Thinking you’re old and frail”: A qualitative study of a frailty in older adults. Ageing and Society

Warmoth K, Tarrant M, Abraham C, Lang I. Older adults’ perceptions of ageing and their health and functioning: a systematic review of observational studies. Psychology, Health and Medicine.

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