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PenCLAHRC Matters: The Inside Story - August 2013

Dear <<First Name>>,

This month I am absolutely delighted to tell you that we have been successful in our bid for funding for our Peninsula CLAHRC to continue 2014-2018 (further information below).
We have been told that the interview panel rated our bid very highly and that the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) agreed the proposal with no conditions. We were complimented on the work we have done so far and on our plans for the future. This is a great tribute to the people who have worked so hard over the last five years to deliver a really successful programme.
We particularly wanted to thank everyone who put such a huge effort into helping to prepare the new bid. This was a great team effort. The help we have had from CLAHRC staff, from our partner organisations and from the many members of the public through PenPIG bodes extremely well for the future.
We look forward to translating the bid into concrete plans and to working with you all to continue to deliver research that makes a difference to the NHS and the people we serve.

Stuart Logan
Director of PenCLAHRC

PenCLAHRC to receive £10 million in funding for South West health research

On Friday 9th August the Department of Health announced that £124 million is to be invested by the Government into health research across the country. Health Minister Lord Howe proclaimed that thirteen Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) would receive this significant investment from the NIHR to tackle some of the nation's most pressing health problems over the next five years. It is hoped the financial boost will not only ensure that patients benefit from innovative new treatments and techniques, but that this will also help stimulate the research economy and attract more research funding in the future. Read the full DH press release and full list of new CLAHRCs.

As a result of this investment, the CLAHRC for the South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC) has been successful in securing £10 million in funding from the NIHR. PenCLAHRC was one of the first nine NIHR CLAHRCs to be established in the country in 2008, and for the past five years has supported research in Devon and Cornwall with direct impact on patients’ health and on improvements to the way in which NHS care is delivered. The recent funding means that the partnership between Plymouth University, the University of Exeter and the NHS (now including the NHS in Somerset as well as Devon and Cornwall), will extend this work for another five years. The collaboration will focus on five main themes: mental health and dementia; diagnostics and stratified medicine (where treatments are ‘individualised’ to the needs of patients); healthy people, healthy environments; person-centred care; and evidence for policy and practice. A key component of PenCLAHRC activities will also continue to include Patient and Public involvement (PPI), which the organisation has taken a national lead in (PenCLAHRC will host an international conference on the benefits of public engagement in research in November). Click here for the full story.

This news story received a significant amount of coverage in the local press - see links opposite to watch/listen to interviews and features.

PenCLAHRC's 'Project of the Month': Engager II (Mental Health Care for Prisoners)

Offenders, and especially prisoners, have a high prevalence of mental health problems. Rates for various mental health conditions range from 50 to 90 per cent. Prisoners released from prison with mental health problems face difficulty with family relationships, employment, long-term illness, self-harm, depression and re-offending.

An ongoing collaboration between Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry,  the University of Manchester, University College London and the University of Exeter, has received funding in the region of £2 million from the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) to carry out a five-year programme investigating the issues faced by prisoners with mental health problems near to and after release, and to develop and evaluate a system of care to address those issues. The project, known as "Engager II", aims to develop and evaluate a way of organising care based on an integrated approach involving therapy, medication, housing, training and employment, and ensuring that care continues after release. Phase one will see researchers working closely with people who have previously been in prison, the prison service and community care providers, to develop the model for an integrated approach to identify and engage prisoners before release and then set up and deliver care after release. The second phase will be a randomised controlled trial in which half the prisoners would receive the new integrated approach while the others would receive the care that is usually available. Read the Plymouth Herald report

Research, Development and Innovation in Cornwall

Last month saw the re-launch of the Cornwall Research Development & Innovation (RD&I) Department, formerly known as the Research and Development Directorate of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT). Health research managers from across Cornwall attended the event, held on Monday 29 July, which showcased current and on-going health research in Cornwall and links across the Peninsula with poster displays and interactive demonstrations.  Talks were given by Chris Cannaby (Cornwall RD&I Manager) who explained that the department aims to “provide expert assistance for research in Cornwall”; Lora Fleming (Director of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health), Jonathan Pinkney (Professor of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Plymouth University) and Pippa Hedley (Associate Director of Integrated Site Services at Quintiles). As a strategic partner, PenCLAHRC was represented at the event by Jane Royle (Locality Lead for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly) and Dawn Sambells (Research Information and Communications Officer). There was also a display featuring PenCLAHRC’s work.

In connection with the RD&I Department, an event to showcase NHS research in Cornwall is being organised for Monday 11 November 2013. The ‘Cornwall Research Forum’ will feature both internal and external speakers, along with a variety of workshops. Anyone interested in attending the event is asked to register their interest by emailing Steph McIntosh.

The Four-Point Test to predict death risk from C. difficile

A Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection is one that can affect the digestive system and most commonly affects people staying in hospital. It is not generally a problem for healthy people but may infect those on antibiotics with an imbalance of ‘good bacteria’ in the gut. In a recently published paper in BMC Infectious Diseases, a team of researchers have for the first time identified a unique four-point test using easily measurable clinical variables which can be used to accurately predict the death risk to patients from C. diff. Accurate prediction means that those patients at risk can be managed accordingly by the clinical team. This robust and simple method of identification has potential benefits to patients, hospitals and health services around the world. The research team behind the study are from the University of Exeter and the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E), and are supported by PenCLAHRC. Find out more and read the BBC story.

PPI at EANS conference in the Netherlands

PenCLAHRC’s Lead for Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) was recently invited to be a keynote speaker at an international conference. Nicky Britten gave the keynote address at the European Academy of Nursing Science (EANS) Summer Conference, held in Nijmegen (Netherlands) on the afternoon of 3rd July. The conference, which took place from 2-4th July for EANS members, focussed on patient involvement and mixed methods research and showcased a mix of seminars, workshops, debates, poster presentations and talks by internationally eminent speakers. In her talk, entitled “Patient and Public Involvement in research: values, impact and theory”, Professor Britten discussed her extensive experience of involving patients and the public in research, in terms of the underpinning values, the mechanisms used and the impact of PPI on research outcomes. Read more.

Age UK magazine features local dementia work

Age UK Devon’s second issue of their new quarterly magazine, ‘engage’, features a double-page spread on local dementia research in the South West. The article firstly highlights work being carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter (and supported by PenCLAHRC), investigating the relationship between vitamin D and cognitive decline. Linked to this, Ilianna Lourida (a PenCLAHRC PhD student) has recently had her thesis published, looking at adherence to a Mediterranean diet and the positive associations of better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline, and reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. The article also looks at a new app to help clinicians assess patients with possible dementia.

PenCLAHRC Press Links

ITV Westcountry News
Feature on PenCLAHRC funding, interviews with Stuart Logan and Martin James

BBC Radio Devon
Interview with Stuart Logan (start at 34mins) and Andrew Vallance-Owen (start at 1hr35mins)

BBC Radio Somerset
News on PenCLAHRC funding (start at beginning) and interview with Stuart Logan (start at 1hr05mins)

Plymouth Herald Story

This is Devon Story

Events Diary

16th August 2013 - Deadline to register for AHPRN event. See below for more information.

9th September 2013 - Allied Health Professions Research Network (AHPRN) South West Launch, The Forum, University of Exeter. More information.

• 10th September 2013 - PenCHORD Seminar & Workshop: Emergency Services - A&E and Ambulances/ Epidemiology & game theroy, Exeter.
More information.

• 24th September 2013 - Prof Katrina Williams, The Annual Hugh Greenwood Lecture: "Autism Spectrum Disorders - so many questions, so few answers", Exeter. More information.

• 30th September 2013 - Closing date for NIHR Media Competition. More information.

• 4th October 2013 - Celebrating the success of NIHR CLAHRC PhDs, Austin Court, Birmingham. More information.

• 14th October, 12th November & 9th December 2013 inclusive - Workshops: Introduction to Diagnostic Accuracy Reviews, Exeter. More information.

• 18th October 2013 - Workshop: Using Evidence to Make Clinical Decisions, Truro. More information.

• 21st October 2013 - Dr William Levack, "Rehabilitation of self-identity after traumatic brain injury: development of a concept and clinical measure", Exeter. More information.

• 13th-15th November 2013 – Public Involvement Conference: “New Developments in Public Involvement in Research”, Exeter.
More information.

Recent Publications

• Butt E, Foster J, Keedwell E, Bell J, Titball R, Bhangu A, Michell S, Sheridan R. Derivation and validation of a simple, accurate and robust prediction rule for risk of mortality in patients with clostridium difficile infection. BMC Infectious Diseases.

• Lourida I, Soni M, Thompson-Coon J, Purandare N, Lang I, Ukoumunne O, Llewellyn D. Adherence to Mediterranean diet, cognitive function and dementia: a systematic review. Epidemiology.

• Abbott R, Whear R, Thompson-Coon J, Ukoumunne O, Rogers M, Bethel A, Hemsley A, Stein K. Effectiveness of mealtime interventions on nutritional outcomes for the elderly living in residential care: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews.

• McHugh C, Bailey S, Shilling V, Morris C. Meeting the Information Needs of Families of children with chronic health conditions. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics.

Find more publications information on the new publications database.

NIHR media competition
round 2

A second round of the NIHR media competition has now been launched. If you are funded by the NIHR and are interested in communicating your research, you can submit a 6 minute video for consideration - closing date 30th September 2013. Find out more.

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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.