Projects which will develop 3D technology to improve breast cancer management, explore the role of exercise in perinatal mental health and roll out an effective sleep intervention for young people are among ten innovative health and research projects to be granted funding.
UEA Health and Social Care Partners (UEAHSCP) has invested nearly £165,000 in ten regional research projects which address deep-rooted issues across local health and social care services, such as addressing health inequalities, supporting perinatal mental health, and childhood obesity prevention.
The funding, made possible by UEAHSCP’s partner organisations, will provide a launchpad for researchers to develop ideas that can help tackle the most pressing challenges facing local health and social care services, with a particular focus on projects that align with our partners’ most important research priorities:
- Population health management
- Digital technologies to transform care delivery
- Children and young people's mental health
Carrie Jackson, UEAHSCP Research Director, said: “Being able to support collaborative research and innovation is one of the best ways we can continue to drive system transformation and improvement across health and social care.
“It's fantastic to see partnership funding going towards creative solutions to such important issues.”
Prof Charles ffrench-Constant, Pro-Vice Chancellor for UEA’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and UEAHSCP Executive Board member, said: “This funding initiative from UEA Health and Social Care Partners represents a key component of our Faculty research priorities and demonstrates the positive impact collaborative research can have on our local health and social care services.
“The ten successful projects enable innovative approaches to solving challenges across diverse research topics. Collectively, these projects will generate valuable capability and capacity across local health and social care research”.
Prof Erika Denton, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) Medical Director, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding for research across a number of specialities at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and builds on our important partnership with the UEA.
“Evidence shows the more research active a hospital is, the better the outcomes for patients. It is particularly exciting to be involved in so much research using cutting-edge technology to help improve patient care and help tackle some of the challenges we face in health care.”
The ten projects to receive a share of the funding are:
AI System Support In Service Triage (ASSIST), Alex Church, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB)
Aiming to transform the referral and triage processes of Children and Young People’s (CYP) mental health services in Norfolk and Waveney by developing a service eligibility framework and clinical scoring system needed to enable the Artificial Intelligence (AI) to select which service is most suitable to meet the Children and Young People’s needs. The team is adopting the thrive framework across our system which will help to categorise their referrals and support the algorithm with decision making.
Led by: NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB
Collaborators: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), University of East Anglia, MAP, Cambridge Community Services NHS Trust.
Adopting digital 3D technology to improve breast cancer management (BEAT), Professor Sheng Qi, University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Norfolk Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
To develop the clinical application and implementation of 3D printing technology to transform quality of care for breast cancer patients, which may be extended in its application to other cancer patient care in the near future. The project aims to build regional 3D technology awareness and UEA-NNUH joint research capability in clinical applications of 3D printing to improve quality of care.
Led by: UEA and Norfolk and Norfolk Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Collaborators: James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UEA Productivity East, Addenbrooke’s Hospital 3D lab, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust 3D lab, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust 3D lab, Stratasys UK, Axial3D.
The Better Sleep Programme (TBSP), Dr Rebecca Rollinson, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
This is a six-month scoping exercise to develop a business case and plan of work for a wider project. The wider project aims to roll-out training and supervision in sleep interventions in order to improve access to effective help for young people in this area (aged 14 to 25) with mental health difficulties, as well as to support and promote further clinical research.
The focus is on making it easier for young people to access help for sleep difficulties across the wider health and social care system, spanning prevention and early intervention, community support and urgent and emergency care (including CYP crisis provision) and incorporating NSFT, primary care, social care and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) services.
The aim is also to increase awareness of the importance of sleep in young people’s mental health and to make it easier for professionals, young people and their families to access appropriate resources and online support where this is already available.
It is hoped that the wider project will help improve understanding of this under-researched area by providing a platform to host additional research projects as well as reporting on the clinical outcomes of the intervention itself.
Led by: NSFT
Collaborators: UEA, NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB.
Expansion of Virtual Wards Using Data Science (EV-WUDS), Mike Shemko, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
This project includes aspects of research in data science applied to virtual wards and its patients, as well as an innovation aspect due to interest from industry partners such as small to medium enterprises (SMEs) supplying the wearable technology currently used, and large industry partners who are interested in developing virtual ward data products and remote sensing technology.
Measurable aims: Appropriate multi-disciplinary team building and capacity development.
To establish Trusted Research Environments (TRE) computing environment which multiple partners can use to perform data science activities and methods; to prove the value of joined up data sets across multiple organisations; to demonstrate exemplar data science approaches to virtual ward evaluation; to validate predictive models as they relate to virtual ward activity.
Led by: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Collaborators: Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, Norfolk County Council, University of East Anglia, East Coast Community Healthcare CIC.
Technology tO Support ChAnge (TOSCA), Dr Emma Webb, Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University of East Anglia
This work will run a series of focus groups to understand the views of young people with complications of obesity around using technology to support their journey within the Complications from Excess Weight (CEW) service. This study aims to collate data on young people’s perceptions and preferences regarding the role and usability of technology designed to support behavioural change.
This project aims to improve Healthy Futures CEW clinic service provision across England by developing a cost-effective evidence-based intervention to support adolescents with health change behaviour in an easily accessible way which works for them.
Led by: NSFT and UEA
Collaborators: Norfolk and Waveney ICB, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, Norfolk County Council, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, Eastern Academic Health Science Network, Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge, Queen Marys Hospital London.
Brain Injury diScharge infOrmatioN project (BISON), Dr Michael Grey, University of East Anglia
The primary aim of the project is to quickly develop an online patient-facing portal that will provide personalised gold-standard information about recovery following mild traumatic brain injury.
They are working with Headway Norfolk & Waveney and clinical partner James Paget University Hospital to develop the portal. Input from across the Partnership will be obtained to refine and then test the portal. The aim is to produce a resource that will be used around the region to ensure patients with concussion have a tool with gold-standard information to manage their return to activity. This will limit the number of people who develop longer term post-concussion symptoms.
Led by: UEA
Collaborators: James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, Headway Norfolk & Waveney, Norfolk and Waveney Acquired Brain Injury Network, Active Norfolk.
The use of mHealth for patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease (Walk-A-Cise), Associate Professor Philip Stather, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Patients with a poor blood supply to the legs typically get cramps when they walk. The first part of managing this is exercise therapy to improve the blood supply. Unfortunately, there is a lack of exercise programmes for these patients, therefore the Walk-A-Cise mobile phone application has been developed to provide a remote way of delivering this care. It is currently in use in Beta version in Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Cambridge University Hospital, and Colchester Hospital.
The application uses GPS tracking to monitor patients walking distance which can be monitored over time.
This has two key benefits for the healthcare professionals; highlighting maximal walking distance, and to see if patients are improving over time.
This stage of the project has 2 key aims:
- Obtain NHS approval for use of the Walk-A-Cise mobile phone application throughout the partner organisations including James Paget University Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn, Ipswich Hospital, West Suffolk Hospital, Peterborough Hospital and Basildon University Hospital (the app is currently in use in Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Cambridge University Hospital, and Colchester Hospital).
- Undertake focus groups with patients and public as well as healthcare professionals to ensure a user centred design and development is prioritised according to user preference. This will also enable creation of the group of individuals for future PPI work for clinical trials.
Led by: Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Collaborators: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, University of East Anglia, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, The Circulation Foundation, Norwich Clinical Trials Unit, NIHR Cardiovascular MIC.
Exploring people's views of perinatal exercise and its role for mental health (PRAM), Dr Katharine Fowler, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
The aim of this project is to explore people’s views of perinatal exercise and its role for mental health, focusing on; expectant parents, new parents (both parents) and clinician’s working with parents during the perinatal period. Additionally, this research will focus on people’s views on the mental wellbeing support provided for people during the perinatal period, with a particular focus on exercise, to assist with co-producing a perinatal exercise intervention for a research study. This information will assist researchers to apply for grant funding for a feasibility study.
During the next 6-8 months, there will be an exploration of what local perinatal mental health provision is in place, to understand how perinatal mental health research could be implemented locally. A core part of the PRAM project is to set up a patient and public involvement group, with expectant parents and new parents, to ensure that the PRAM study and future research incorporates parents’ views.
Led by: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Collaborators: North and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, University of Suffolk.
PPI and Scoping Review for GP at Front Door of Accident and Emergency services (PPIScoRev), Mr Duncan Peacock and Dr Julii Brainard, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and UEA
Because many GP at Door of A&E (GDAE) service users are likely to be in ‘hard-to-reach’ demographics, a passive recruitment strategy on their use of GDAE services, such as poster or online advertising is unlikely to succeed and would mean their perspectives remaining under-represented. But there should be ways to canvas these service users without any sense of coercion.
This project will use Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) to explore how to undertake face-to-face data collection that is engaging and appealing to GDAE users with no sense of being put under duress to take part.
This project aims to produce a short format survey that is suitable (sensitive, respectful, informative) for administering to service users on site at point they are receiving the service.
Led by: James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and UEA
Collaborators: Norfolk and Waveney ICB (Everden), North Norfolk Primary Care.
ClaCtON COmmuNIty DIagNOstIC CeNtre (CLACODIA), Frances Farnworth, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Georgios Xydopoulos, University of East Anglia
This project will look at the impact the Clacton Diagnostic Centre (CDC) can potentially have on health, the health system and health inequalities.
Health Economics Consulting, in collaboration with East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, will deliver a report that can be used with key partners and stakeholders, funding bodies and commissioners working in the local area, to inform the ways in which the CDC may affect the prevention or reduction of health inequalities amongst deprived population and to look at reducing costs and pressure on health services such as those provided by the NHS or Public Health.
Led by: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust and UEA
Collaborator: Health Economics Consulting.
UEAHSCP has recommended a further three projects be fast tracked for consideration to the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board Research Capability Funding (GPHIU, SOAR, EMADS). They are also exploring alternative funding opportunities for a further four projects that applied during this funding round.
Looking ahead, they will be supporting practitioners from across our partnership to participate in our first Research Sandpit workshop on Thursday 3 November 2022. The sandpit will help partners to refine their research ideas into workable proposals for future funding rounds. Details will be released shortly. If you wish to discuss future opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The partner organisations which have jointly funded these awards:
- East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System
- NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board
- Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
- Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust
- Norfolk County Council
- The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust
- West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
UEA Health and Social Care Partners is a consortium of health and social care organisations across Norfolk, Suffolk and North East Essex. They fund collaborative research and innovation projects, enabling practice-led research that benefits service users and professionals. For more information, please visit www.ueahscp.com