UWE takes part in £9 million boost to healthcare and research in the West

Issue date: 12 August 2013

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Health researchers in the West of England have been given a share of £124 million from the Government to enable them to tackle the area's most pressing health problems.

The money has been awarded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) over five years to 13 pioneering research teams across the country. Researchers from UWE Bristol are part of the NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) in the West. The team will work on innovative projects designed to address long term conditions and public health challenges.

The CLAHRC West team has been awarded £9 million and is hosted by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. It brings together UWE, the Universities of Bath and Bristol, local authorities, NHS Hospital Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups to focus on improving health and healthcare for local people.

This investment will help ensure patients benefit from new treatments and techniques which could revolutionise future healthcare. It is hoped the financial boost will stimulate the research economy and attract more research funding in the future.

Professor Jenny Ames, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation at UWE's Faculty of Health and Life Sciences said,

“This announcement reinforces UWE's continued collaboration with Bristol Health Partners and other organisations. UWE looks forward to contributing its expertise, particularly in patient and public involvement, training health care professionals and service evaluation.

“It will also contribute world-class research in areas such as musculo-skeletal diseases, healthy built environment, and preventing childhood injury.”

The Director of CLAHRC West, Jenny Donovan, Professor of Social Medicine at the University of Bristol, said, “This is a fantastic boost to health research and healthcare in this area and an acknowledgement of the collaborative work that we are doing.

“Together we aim to ensure that the health of people in our area is as good as the best anywhere, and that the care they need is provided fairly and at the right time and place. We will do this by conducting the highest quality and most relevant health-related research in health integration teams made up of public health and NHS specialists working with applied health scientists, commissioners and patients.”

Health integration teams (HITs) have been established in the West to tackle important issues in public health, such asreducing childhood injuries and infections, and creating healthier environments, and to improve care for chronic health conditions, such as dementia, painful joints and eyesight problems.

Health Minister, Lord Howe, who announced the investment on 9 August, said, “This is great news for patients – this funding could potentially help the development of ground breaking treatments which could revolutionise care. With a growing elderly population, the need for innovative and effective solutions has never been more important.

“We want the UK to lead the world in terms of health research and this announcement underlines that commitment. It is vital that we invest in health research, not only to create the opportunities for health research to grow - but also to help our economy thrive so we can compete in the global race.”

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