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NIHR ARC North West London funding awarded

11 July 2019

We are pleased to announce that the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Northwest London, NIHR ARC NWL, has officially been granted £9 Million of the £135 million research fund as a local collaborative programme in healthcare improvement, to tackle the biggest healthcare challenges of this generation.

(NIHR CLAHRC NWL team at Collaborative Event June 2019)

We are pleased to announce that the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Northwest London, NIHR ARC NWL, has officially been granted £9 Million of the £135 million research fund as a local collaborative programme in healthcare improvement, to tackle the biggest healthcare challenges of this generation. 

The NHS is joining forces with some of the country’s best universities, leading innovators and local authorities to solve some of the biggest issues facing health and social care over the next five years. The new ARC funding and support is for applied health and care research and to support implementation of research into practice, making tangible improvements for patients, the public and to health and care services. 

"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."

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood.

Fifteen partnerships across England, made up of NHS organisations, social care services, leading academics, innovators, and local authorities, have been awarded funding through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for ground-breaking new projects that will address the increasing demands on the NHS and give patients greater independence and choice about how they manage their healthcare.

"The NHS in NW London faces major challenges. The new NIHR Applied Research Collaboration will bring together health and care organisations, universities, local government, and patient and public groups in NW London together to help develop and evaluate interventions to meet these challenges. This will include new models of working such as integrated care and new informatics resources that will provide better information on the health of our local population. We are very excited about the opportunities the programme will build and grateful to all our partners for their support."

Azeem Majeed, NIHR ARC NWL Director

The NIHR ARC NWL’s new programme that will start October 2019 will be hosted by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust with Imperial College London as the academic partner. The NIHR ARC NWL will undertake high-quality applied health and care research and work across local health and care systems to close the second translational gap by supporting implementation of research and will work collectively with ARCs in other parts of England to ensure national impact. The ARC programme aims to address a number of key challenges including: the need to increase applied health and care research, increase research in public health and primary care, the challenges of an ageing society, the disease clusters of multimorbidity and the increasing demands placed on our health and care system. 

Our programme will be conducted via four research themes and three cross-cutting themes with the overarching goal is to build sustainable infrastructure for a continual improvement in health behaviours and population health, and a reduction in health inequalities for the people of north west London. 

The Child Population Health, Multimorbidity, and Digital Health themes aim to address local and national priorities, exploiting the strengths of committed healthcare professionals, academics and patients. These themes aim to achieve major population health impact, learning from and contributing to international experience. 

The fourth research theme, Innovation and Evaluation, will contribute to north west London infrastructure, capitalising on world-class discovery science in the Imperial AHSC. This will drive the rapid spread of innovations in prevention, early diagnosis and better, targeted treatments, to benefit patients, including frugal innovations from low- and middle-income countries, sharing learning within and beyond the local area. 

The four research themes will be supported by three crosscutting themes: Information and Intelligence; Patient, Public, Community Engagement and Involvement; and Collaborative Learning and Capacity Building. They will produce generalisable research on how to maximise the efficiency of health improvement programmes and support high quality services.

Underpinning this work will be significant investments in informatics capability in NW London. This includes information from the Whole Systems Integrated Care (WSIC) Programme, which was established to facilitate better co-ordinated care, particularly for patients with complex health needs. 

The primary care, acute, mental health, community and adult social care data for 2.2 million people contained within it will drive the evaluation of patient journeys through the health and care system in north west London.

"This investment by the Government is excellent news, not only to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as a host organisation, but to our partners, our patients and our staff. The funding presents a real opportunity for collaborative working, making a difference to our patients locally and nationally. As we strive to be the best Foundation Trust we can be, we know that we must invest in new models of care, built around the strongest evidence base. Our long term plans are focused on working with partners to support the population in and out of hospital; to ensure they have access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time. But to do this we must understand more about the population, about their care needs and how they want their healthcare system to work for them.  As a centre for innovation we need to continue to embrace new technology and share best practice with our colleagues and partners internally and externally. Being a part of this collaboration will enable us to meet the changing needs of the population we serve, in a realistic timescale. We look forward to working with each of the partners across the network and being a part of such vital research."

Lesley Watts, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Building on the success of the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Northwest London, NIHR CLAHRC NWL 

Over the last 10 years, the NIHR CLAHRC programme has expanded from nine to thirteen CLAHRCs across England, with NIHR CLAHRC NWL being the first London funded CLAHRC in October 2008. The £135 million fund towards the fifteen ARCs now proudly covers the whole of England in a bid to equip the NHS for the future and deliver commitments in Long Term Plan. 

A major ongoing success story of the this CLAHRC is a programme to improve services for people with sickle cell disease, a chronic, previously life-limiting condition that affects red blood cells. 

In partnership with the Sickle Cell Society and the Picker Institute Europe, the team developed the first patient reported experience measure (PREM) for people with sickle cell and conducted the largest-ever survey of people with the condition. Over 700 people, or around 1 in 13 with sickle cell in the UK, were involved, leading to a validated survey that supports hospitals and healthcare to improve services for patients.

"As the outgoing Director for NIHR CLAHRC Northwest London, I am pleased that northwest London have again secured funding directed towards closing the translational gap and building capacity across the sector as part of the ARC programme."

Professor Derek Bell, NIHR CLAHRC NWL Director 

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