£9 million research begins into demands on the region’s health services

A research centre that brings together leading expertise from the West Midlands to address some of the most demanding pressures on health services in the region launches today.

The study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands is a collaboration between the Universities of Keele, Warwick and Birmingham, in partnership with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women's and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, the lead NHS organisations for the region.

The NIHR ARC West Midlands aims to tackle the key issues facing our healthcare system, including the pressures of an ageing population and the increasing demands on the NHS, through collaborative working across NHS Trusts, universities, the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network and other organisations in the West Midlands.

It is one of 15 centres across England awarded funding of almost £9 million for five years by the National Institute for Health Research earlier this year. It builds on the foundations of the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) West Midlands.

Professor Christian Mallen, NIHR Research Professor at Keele University and Deputy Director of NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) in West Midlands, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in this application which will build on the outstanding work completed from past NIHR CLAHRC funding. The ARC partnership unites leading health and social care researchers from across the West Midlands and allows us to further develop key national and international collaborations in this growing field.”

Professor Richard Lilford, ARC West Midlands Director and Professor of Public Health at Warwick Medical School, said: “Over the next five years the ARC will bring together the most dedicated researchers, public contributors and healthcare professionals from across the West Midlands.

“Working closely with the Health Service, our collaboration is committed to generating the highest quality research which makes real improvements for patients and the public at every stage in their lives and we will share our findings across the country and beyond.”

Across England, the ARCs will help to solve some of the biggest issues facing health and social care over the next five years, helping to address the increasing demands on the NHS and give patients greater independence and choice about how they manage their healthcare.

The NIHR ARC West Midlands will have four main priorities: long term health conditions, acute care interfaces, integrated care in youth mental health, and maternity care. In addition, it will have two cross-cutting themes: organisational science and research methodology, informatics and rapid response. These needs have been identified following discussions with local communities and health and social care organisations.