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PenCLAHRC Matters: The Inside Story - August 2013

Dear <<First Name>>,


Welcome to the last PenCLAHRC Matters e-newsletter of the year, and the pilot phase of PenCLAHRC. As of 1st January we will be moving into a new phase of funding, which will present us with many exciting opportunities and challenges, including expanding our patch into Somerset and working with new partners in the NHS. The first five years of PenCLAHRC have been very busy and together we have achieved a great deal.  We are all immensely proud of these achievements.

I’d like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

Stuart Logan
Director of PenCLAHRC



Success for Public Involvement Conference
The PenCLAHRC Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team held their first successful conference on 13th-15th November at the Rougemont Hotel in Exeter.  It focused on the latest developments in patient and public involvement in health services research, with the aim of building on the evidence base, and on the basis of an inspiring range of recent research projects. The conference was attended by around 150 delegates, who travelled far and wide (the furthest flying in from Sweden, and Australia). Among the attendees were researchers, patients, carers, members of the public, health professionals and NHS research managers. The programme contained a mixture of keynote lectures, presentations, workshops and poster displays. At the conference dinner on the Thursday evening, delegates were entertained by Radio 4 humourist and performance poet Matt Harvey. Inspired by Matt’s alternative approach to public engagement, keynote speaker Derek Stewart OBE tweeted his own poem in response: “Invite a poet, To make a mark, So Inspiring, PenCLAHRC”.

A great deal of enthusiastic feedback has been received about the conference, and the organising team are to be congratulated on its success. The team would themselves like to thank everyone involved, and particularly those who participated in discussions via the social media site Twitter, which saw the event’s hashtag #piexeter2013 trending as the top 8th health conference in the world. You can read these comments online via the Storify story. The conference was also featured on ITV Westcountry, and BBC Radio Devon. Further legacy information, including presentations, will be available online shortly.

Stroke Pathways scoops up Exeter Impact Award
Congratulations to PenCLAHRC’s Operational Research team, who won an institutional award last week for their work in optimising emergency stroke treatment.  At a dinner held on Tuesday 10th December 2013, the winners of the University of Exeter Impact Awards were announced, and PenCLAHRC’s Stroke Pathways project picked up the George Smith Regional Partnership award. Collaborating with the South West Peninsula Heart and Stroke Network, the PenCLAHRC team has helped to deliver a four-fold increase in stroke patients treated, and halved the time taken to deliver thrombolysis at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Patients benefit from a computer simulation that models stroke pathways, which has proven to reduce the likelihood of developing disabling conditions after suffering a stroke.
PenCLAHRC’s Patient and Public Involvement team were also shortlisted for the Outstanding Public Engagement award for their work in involving the public in health services research. Read more.

PenCLAHRC's 'Project of the Month': Netmums
A research team from the University of Exeter and supported by PenCLAHRC have teamed up with online forum Netmums in a pilot study which has shown that post natal depression can be treated effectively using online therapy. Rates of postnatal depression (PND) are high – between 10 to 30 percent of mums are affected - but many cases go unreported and few women seek help. The researchers have for the first time investigated the feasibility of an internet-based Behavioural Action (BA) treatment modified to address PND in two studies. Those who received the internet based treatment reported better results for depression, work and social impairment, and anxiety scores immediately after they had received the treatment. They also reported better results for depression six months after treatment. The results, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, indicate that such an internet-based facility for treatment could have a positive effect on PND as a whole, providing new mums with support at times which are convenient to them and allowing them to complete a course of therapy.

Research confirms Mediterranean diet is good for the mind
Over recent years many pieces of research have identified a link between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of age-related disease such as dementia. Until now there has been no systematic review of such research, where a number of studies regarding a Mediterranean diet and cognitive function are reviewed for consistencies, common trends and inconsistencies. A team of researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School, supported by PenCLAHRC, have carried out the first such systematic review and their findings have been published in Epidemiology. Their work confirms a positive impact on cognitive function, but an inconsistent effect on mild cognitive impairment. Find out more.

Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework (PiiAF)
Universities in Lancaster, Liverpool and Exeter have joined forces with the public to produce an innovative resource to help researchers assess the impact of public involvement in research. The Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework (PiiAF) was launched on Friday 6th September in London at an event opened by Simon Denegri from the NIHR. PenCLAHRC's Professor Nicky Britten and Dr Andy Gibson were involved in the review of values in patient participation, and led the Patient Advisory Group which was integral to the project. The PiiAF framework helps users develop a pathway from their approach to public involvement through to the impacts they want it to have, to identify questions for their evaluation and to decide on the most appropriate methods to use. Read more.

South West Health Innovation lead appointed
The South West Health Innovation Academic Health Science Network has appointed Dr Alex Mayor as its first Medical Director to lead on the effective spread of best practice in healthcare across the region. More on this story.

Events Diary


• 8th January 2014 - Health and Social Care Futures, Plymouth University, Plymouth. More information.


• 5th February 2014 - South West Public Health Scientific Conference 2014, The Winter Gardens, Weston-super-Mare. More information.




Recent Publications

• O'Mahen H, Richards D, Woodford J, Wilkinson E, McGinley J, Taylor S, Warren F. Netmums: A Phase II Randomized Controlled Trial of a Guided Internet Behavioral Activation Treatment for Postpartum Depression. Psychological Medicine.


• Parker C, Ford T. Editorial Perspective: School exclusion is a mental health issue. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.


• Bateman A, Neilens H, Gericke C, George J, Freeman R.
Is there a need for postoperative follow-up after routine urogynaecological procedures? Patients will self-present if they have problems. International Urogynecology Journal.



PenCLAHRC also recently featured in:

Soper B, Yaqud O, Hinrichs S, Marjanovich S, Drabble S, Hanney S, Nolte E. CLAHRCs in practice: combined knowledge transfer and exchange strategies, cultural change, and experimentation. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy.


Find more publications information on the publications database.

Copyright © 2013 PenCLAHRC, All rights reserved.
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The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for the South West Peninsula (known as PenCLAHRC for short) aims to bring together local universities and their surrounding NHS organisations to test new treatments and new ways of working in specific clinical areas, to see if they are effective and appropriate for everyday use in the health service.  Where potential improvements are identified, NIHR-PenCLAHRC helps NHS staff to incorporate them into their everyday working practices, so that patients across the local community receive a better standard of healthcare.