£10million boost for pioneering Devon and Cornwall health projects
A £10million boost has been delivered to a raft of Westcountry health projects as diverse as tackling childhood obesity to finding a treatment for dementia.
The cash will back a partnership reaching either side of the Tamar which has already been working successfully to improve health over the last five years.
It will go to a consortium led by Plymouth and Exeter universities which brings together medical training centre and branches of the NHS.
Professor Sir Steve Smith, vice chancellor of the University of Exeter, said the grant was a vote of confidence.
“This funding is absolutely fantastic news for patients in the South West, as well as nationally and internationally,” he said.
The partnership, known as The National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care in the South West Peninsula, or the rather wordy acronym of NIHR PenCLAHRC was established in 2008.
It has already made a real difference to patients in the Westcountry, said Professor Wendy Purcell, vice chancellor at Plymouth University, and the £10million just awarded for another five years would continue to do so.
“This is indeed great news for health and medical research in the South West, and it is good that the pioneering approach taken by colleagues at PenCLAHRC has been recognised so positively.”
Professor Smith said the money would be well spent.
“It supports them in making discoveries that have a direct impact on care, and in the way healthcare is delivered in a challenging environment.
“This innovation is desperately needed to ensure we can respond to changing needs such as increased life expectancy. In short, this funding is extremely well-spent on research which will yield measurable benefits into the future.”
Projects which will be rolled out include enabling the implementation of a cheap, easily available drug which is delivered by paramedics to reduce the risk of death from haemorrhage after trauma.
On a different strand, an intervention to reduce obesity in school children will be developed.
Partnerships to improve health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities in the most deprived neighbourhoods will be enhanced.
Meanwhile risk assessment tools to help GPs identify and quantify a patient’s risk of cancer based on their symptoms will be developed.
A particular area of strength in which NIHR PenCLAHRC has taken a national lead is the meaningful involvement of patients and the public in research.
Professor Stuart Logan, director of NIHR PenCLAHRC, said they were delighted to have secured finding for another five years.
“This means that we can continue to invest effort and resources in projects which will produce a step-change in the quantity and quality of patient-focused research.
“We believe that this work will lead to improved health outcomes for patients and the public by increasing the capacity of clinical professionals to use and generate research evidence, and by helping to change the culture of health organisations so that the use of evidence-based research becomes normal business.”