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South West Peninsula
PenCLAHRC Matters - May 2016

Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the May edition of the PenCLAHRC Matters newsletter. I'm sure many of you are looking forward to a well-deserved break over the Bank Holiday weekend and hopefully an opportunity to enjoy some warmer weather!

We have been very busy since the last newsletter, not only on the projects highlighted below but also working on our submission for the NIHR PenCLAHRC Annual Report for 2015/16. We hope to have this on the website shortly, so you can all see the huge scope of work we have undertaken in the past year. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked tirelessly on the report to ensure its timely submission and for ensuring it provides a showcase of the fantastic work being undertaken by our colleagues.

I'm pleased to be able to report on more of our successes below, particularly where these have been recognised by national awards. This includes Dr Vicky Goodwin and the Rheumatology Team at Derriford Hospital's recent win at the Health Service Journal Value in Healthcare Awards, in the Value and Improvement in General Medicine category, for our patient-initiated clinics project. Also highlighted is the continuing work of the PPI team with the Patient and Public Involvement Group (PenPIG) to ensure that our research is relevant to the concerns and needs of patients and the public. An example of where our work has had a direct impact on patients, is the implementation of a new system by Devon Partnership Trust based on modelling work carried out by PenCHORD. This resulted in a halving of mental health assessment waiting times across Devon and I recommend watching the video that accompanies this news story below.

With best wishes, 

Stuart Logan
Director of PenCLAHRC


Blood pressure difference linked to heart disease

A new study, led by University of Exeter Medical School and supported by PenCLAHRC, has found that blood pressure differences between each arm can indicate an increased risk of dying of heart disease.

The study took blood pressure measurements in both arms of more than 3,000 people in Scotland who had been identified as having a greater risk of heart disease or hypertension, but who had not yet had an episode of either.


The team found that a difference in systolic blood pressure measurements between the two arms was associated with almost double the risk of death from heart related diseases, when the cohort was followed up over a period of eight years.

You can read about this story in more detail on our website.

Estimating the size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual community will help address health needs

Public Health England (PHE) has recently funded a PenCLAHRC project which will establish the size of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) population in England.

By estimating the population size and approximating it going forward, PHE hopes to be able to improve the effectiveness of health care provided to the LGB community compared to the rest of the population. Project lead Dr Kerryn Husk commented on the project:

Both an accurate estimate of the current LBG population, together with a robust method to estimate the size of that population going forward, will help PHE to understand the effectiveness of health services provided to the LGB community compared with the rest of the population. This in turn will give PHE access to data which can be used to ensure that those health services are doing their job, as well as identify gaps in provision or areas where services may be better delivered.”

Please visit our news story page to read more about this project.


Success for the South West Anaesthesia Research Matrix Team

The South West Anaesthesia Research Matrix (SWARM) team were celebrating earlier this month after winning the Anaesthesia Team of the Year category at this year’s British Medical Journal (BMJ) Awards, which took place on 5th May in London.

Set up four years ago, SWARM is a PenCLAHRC supported trainee-led audit and research collaborative between six NHS organisations in the South West region. Over the past four years the network has run 10 high quality collaborative projects, held annual research training meetings, and widely presented and published its results.

You can read more about this story by visiting our news page.
Swarm team, Picture credit: Plymouth Hospital

Launch of PenCHORD Health Service Modelling Associates Programme

PenCLAHRC’s operational research team, PenCHORD, have successfully welcomed the first cohort onto their new Health Service Modelling Associates (HSMA) Programme. Having launched in April, the 12 month pilot programme will see the selected six associates undertake advanced modelling within their own NHS organisations.

The associates spend one day a week working on their projects and are supported by an HSMA workplace supervisor who helps facilitate the implementation of their project. Associates are also supported throughout the programme by their PenCHORD mentor who provides them with support and advice.

The scheme aims to increase the impact of operational research within the NHS across the South West.

You can read more about the programme and the associates by visiting our news page.

PenCLAHRC Director made NIHR Senior Investigator


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has recognised PenCLAHRC Director, Professor Stuart Logan, as being one of the most outstanding health researchers in the UK and have made him a NIHR Senior Investigator for his commitment to the field.

Speaking of this achievement, Professor Logan said:

“I am delighted to be appointed as an NIHR Senior Fellow. NIHR was established as the research arm of the NHS 10 years ago and has transformed our ability to conduct research and for research to benefit patients. I’m proud to have the opportunity to contribute to this effort.”

To read more about this, visit our website.


PenCLAHRC join forces with local music group to help improve aphasia recovery

Aphasia is a speech and language disorder caused by damage to the brain, often as a result of having a stroke. Those suffering with aphasia can have difficulty communicating, whether it be talking, reading, writing or understanding spoken language.

However, a research team, based at PenCLAHRC, have joined forces with local music charity Plymouth Music Zone (PMZ) to help tackle communication problems caused by aphasia. Working alongside clinicians, the team designed a programme that involved a group singing session using a specially prepared song book to musical accompaniment.

Participants in the session reported that singing and music making with others helped them develop a sense of group belonging, and felt that, if the singing sessions continued, participation in them would help improve their wellbeing.

You can read the full story here.

Meet the PenCLAHRC team

PenCLAHRC has grown hugely in size since our doors first opened in 2008 and we now have almost 100 CLAHRC-supported staff and students across the South West. In this new series, we are interviewing PenCLAHRC colleagues to help give a flavour of the broad range of people that make up our collaboration.

In this edition, we caught up with PenCLAHRC Research Fellow, Jo Day.

What do you do at PenCLAHRC?
I work on two projects (CHIK-P and ASPIC) seeking to understand how to reduce the gap between what is known from research and what is done (or should not be done) in everyday practice.  

How long have you worked at PenCLAHRC?
I joined PenCLAHRC in November 2012, so just over three and a half years.  

What do you like most about your job?
The variety! I enjoy speaking to clinicians, academics, practitioners, patients, service users and public through the different projects I work on and the potential to impact positively on health and social care outcomes.  

What’s the hardest part about your job? 
The variety! Keeping up to speed with the information, initiatives, organisational changes and people relevant to the projects I work on and sitting at my desk for long periods of time.    

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
Building or renovating a house and doing a lot more physical activity.    

You may not know this about me, but…..
I enjoy living by the sea.    

Project Focus: PenCHORD project reduces waiting times

PenCLAHRC’s operational research team PenCHORD have been working alongside Devon Partnership Trust in order to reduce waiting times for mental health assessments. With their previous system in need of updating, the trust wanted to introduce a new ‘choose and book’ system which would allow patients to select their preferred assessment centre location.

The PenCHORD team were called upon to help validate and improve this new system before it was officially rolled out. Through using the latest techniques in computer modelling, the team were able to create a detailed simulation of the referral and assessment pathways, allowing them to assess the likely demand at each centre, predict the number of appointment slots needed and determine the best location for each site.
Once the modelling simulation was complete, the Trust were able to confidently implement the new system which saw the average wait time for appointments fall from 22 days to 14 and the distance a patient had to travel for an appointment reduced

If you would like to find out more about this PenCHORD project, you can visit our Exposure page for more information. You can also watch a short video on this project via YouTube.

Patient-led system wins at Health Service Journal Awards

PenCLAHRC’s Patient-Initiated Clinic (PIC) project team were winners at last night’s Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare Awards which took place in Manchester.

Having travelled to London earlier this year to present their case and explain why their project should win, the team successfully went on to scoop the award in the General Medicine category at last night’s ceremony.

The project team has been working with the Rheumatology Team at Derriford Hospital to develop a system which allows people to contact a specialist nurse whenever their condition deteriorates, giving the patient more control over their treatment.

PIC Team, Picture credit: HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards

You can read more about the PIC project on our website.

Funding Successes

  • Alison Bethel and Morwenna Rogers from the Evidence Synthesis Team (EST) have secured funding from the University Internationalisation Fund which will allow them to travel to Michigan in July to learn about how they teach their Searching for Systematic Reviews to Information Specialists course.
  • Ilianna Lourida, also from the Evidence Synthesis Team (EST), has been successful in obtaining a travel fellowship to attend the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto, having had her abstract for the Deirdre project accepted for an oral presentation.

How public members and patients are involved in PenCLAHRC research

PenCLAHRC’s Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Team ensure that patient and public involvement is at the heart of everything we do. In order for them to be successful, the PPI team work closely with the Peninsula Patient and Public Involvement Group (PenPIG) – a diverse group of volunteers who exist to ensure the work carried out by PenCLAHRC remains relevant to patient       


The PenPIG group, largely made up of service users and carers, meet on a regular basis to discuss various projects and dissemination work carried out by PenCLAHRC. Most recently, the group worked on a project proposal and helped secure funding for the INTERPRESS project which examined the difference in blood pressure some people can experience between arms. The complex nature of the project meant that the PenPIG team were called upon to help explain to a lay audience how the project would work and how its findings might be disseminated.  

You can find out more about the PenPIG team by reading a recent news story or by visiting our exposure page.

PenCLAHRC opportunities

Research Fellow -  Evidence Synthesis Team
Closing date: 2nd June 2016
For more information, visit our webpage

Associate Professor
Closing date: 5th June 2016
For more information, visit our webpage



PenCLAHRC Staff News
Welcome to our new members of staff:

Paolo Landa - Associate Research Fellow
Chloe Wood - PhD Student
Louise Wilkinson - PhD Student

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. Visit the Searching and Review Clinic page on our website for more information and future dates.

Health Statistics Group - Stats Clinic
Members of the Health Statistics team will be available to assist with your Stats related queries.
Date: 10th June
Location: South Cloisters, Exeter
Click here for more information
Date: 5th July 2016
Location: South Cloisters, Exeter
Click here for more information

Qualitative Research Advice Clinic
For PenCLAHRC and IHR Staff and Students
These advice clinics have been set up to help respond to qualitative research related queries from within PenCLAHRC and the Institute for Health Research.
Date: 16th June 2016
Time: 10am - 12pm
Click here for more information

Making Sense of Evidence: Using Research to Inform Clinical Decision Making
A one-day introductory workshop on the practical use of evidence in practice, this course is aimed at health care professionals based within the South West region who wish to gain knowledge of finding and appraising evidence in everyday practice where time is short.
Date: 24th June 2016
Time: 09:00am - 4:30pm
Click here for more information

PenCHORD Training Dates
Foundation Module:
Excel skills to produce simple models
Date: 15th June 2016
Time: 2pm - 5pm
Location:  The Knowledge Spa, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro
Click here for more information

Module One:
Introduction to the concept of modelling
Date:  16th June 2016
Time: 10.30am - 4.30pm
Location:  The Knowledge Spa, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro
Click here for more information

Module Two:
Building a geographic model
Date: 28th June 2016
Time: 10.30am - 4.30pm
Location: The Knowledge Spa, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro
Click here for more information

Module Three:
Providing a means of structuring real-world problems
Date: 30th June 2016
Time:  10.30am - 4.30pm
Location:  The Knowledge Spa, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro
Click here for more information

9th International Congress of Morita Therapy
This conference will bring together leading Japanese and international contributors working with Morita therapy for two days of presentations, workshops and discussion on applying Morita therapy in a UK and international context.
Date: 1st September 2016
Last booking date: 31st July 2016
Time: 9am - 5pm
Location: XFi Building, Streatham Campus, University of Exeter
Click here for more information

Recent Publications

Tarrant M, Warmoth K, Dean S, Goodwin V, Stein K, Sugavanam T. Creating psychological connections between intervention recipients: Development and focus group evaluation of a group singing session for people with aphasia. BMJ Open 2016

Clark CE, Taylor RS, Butcher I, Stewart MCW, Price J, Fowkes FGR, Shore AC, Campbell JL. Inter-arm blood pressure difference and mortality: a cohort study in an asymptomatic primary care population at elevated cardiovascular risk. British Journal of General Practice Publication

Moore D, Whittaker S, Ford T. Daily report cards as a school-based intervention for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Support for Learning

Ohly H, Gentry S, Wigglesworth R, Bethel A, Lovell R, Garside R. A systematic review of the health and well-being impacts of school gardening: synthesis of quantitative and qualitative evidence. BMC Public Health

Sugg HVR, Richards D, Frost J. Morita therapy for depression and anxiety (Morita Trial): study protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial. Trial 2016

Jie L-J, Goodwin V, Kleynen M, Braun S, Nunns M, Wilson MR. Analogy learning in Parkinson's: A proof-of-concept study. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation

Ford T, Parker C. Emotional and behavioural difficulties and mental (ill) health. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

Parker C, Paget A, Ford T, Gwernan-Jones R. ‘...he was excluded for the kind of behaviour that we thought he needed support with…’ A qualitative analysis of the experiences and perspectives of parents whose children have been excluded from school. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

Day J, Heaton J, Britten N. What is the nature and value of a risk management tool in a large-scale complex programme of collaborative applied health research? Health, Risk & Society

Heaton J, Day J, Britten N. Collaborative research and the co-production of knowledge for practice: an illustrative case study. Implementation Science

Blake S, Logan S, Humphreys G, Matthews J, Rogers M, Thompson-Coon J, Wyatt K, Morris C. Sleep positioning for children with cerebral palsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015

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 2015

Lovell R, Husk K, Cooper C, Stahl-Timmins W, Garside R. Understanding how environmental enhancement and conservation activities may benefit health and wellbeing: a systematic review. BMC Public Health

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

Ciani O, Buyse M, Garside R, Peters J, Saad ED, Stein K, Taylor RS. Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials show suboptimal validity of surrogate outcomes for overall survival in advanced colorectal cancer. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology

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

Lourida I, Thompson-Coon J, Dickens C, Soni M, Ku┼║ma E, Kos K, Llewellyn DJ. Parathyroid Hormone, Cognitive Function and Dementia: A Systematic Review. PLoS ONE

Goodwin V, Ballinger C, Roberts H, McIntosh E, Lamb S, Nieuwboer A, Rochester L, Ashburn A. A multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of PDSAFE to prevent falls among people with Parkinson’s: study protocol. BMC Neurology

Chalk D, Pitt M. The impact of minor injury unit closures on travel time and attendances. British Journal of Healthcare Management

Perry M, Byng R, Goodwin V, Child S, Gericke C. Implementing a patient-initiated review system in rheumatoid arthritis: a qualitative evaluation. BMC Health Services Research
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