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NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands

NIHR ARC West Midlands logo

The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands is a five-year initiative (2019-2024) with a mission to create lasting and effective partnerships across health and social care organisations, and universities (Birmingham, Keele and Warwick) in order to improve care services across the West Midlands.

ARC West Midlands Research themes

Medical practitioner in discussion with patient

1. Long term conditions

Medical practitoner with patient

2. Acute care interfaces

Youth counselling session

3. Integrated care in youth mental health

Maternity health care

4. Maternity services

Our research is underpinned by these four cross-cutting themes

Organisational science, planning meeting

5. Organisational science

Public Health - meeting between three people in face masks

7. Public health

Research methodology and informatics

6. Research methodology and informatics

Social Care - two people talking, one in a wheelchair, one crouching down

8. Social care

Latest news

West Midlands Research Showcased in Nationally Significant Applied Health and Care Research Publication

Research from the West Midlands has been featured in a newly released flagship document that demonstrates the impact of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded applied research to transform health and care across England.

The publication, ‘The Legacy of the CLAHRCs 2014-19 – 5 Years of NIHR-Funded Applied Health Research’ compiles key research projects from the NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs). Drawing together case studies from priority themes, the document demonstrates how the CLAHRCs conducted innovative research leading to improved outcomes for patients, better and more cost-effective services while challenging health inequalities.

Researchers in the Maternity theme of CLAHRC West Midlands developed a triage tool for pregnant women who were experiencing difficulties - the Birmingham Symptom-specific Obstetric Triage System (BSOTS). This tool began as pilot in one West Midlands NHS Trust, before being rolled out across a further three Trusts in the West Midlands where it was shown to be robust and reliable. It has now been implemented in 39 units, including in Australia, with a further 25 in the process of implementation, and the team were awarded the Health Service Journal Patient Safety Award for Maternity and Midwifery Services in 2020 (page 14).

Our Research Methodology team also refined the use of Rapid Response Research and Stepped Wedge Cluster Randomised Trials (SWCRTs), encouraging stakeholder engagement with research, and allows for more complex trials to be conducted, including a five-arm RCT of over 8,000 frontline NHS staff (page 37).

Dr Louise Wood CBE, co-lead NIHR, Director of Science, Research and Evidence at the Department of Health and Social Care, said:

The NIHR CLAHRCs increased the country’s applied health and care research capacity and capability, making this a key strength of the NIHR. These case studies are a fantastic demonstration of the CLAHRCs’ impact on improving services and outcomes for patients and the public, across a wide range of priority areas. Our Applied Research Collaborations continue to build on this legacy.

Read the full document at: https://arc-wm.nihr.ac.uk/impact/clahrc_legacy.pdf

Since October 2019, the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) have continued the work of the CLAHRCs. They deliver research relevant to the needs of their local populations, while contributing to nationally identified research priority areas.

NIHR ARC West Midlands is one of 15 ARCs across England aiming to improve the health and care of patients and the public. We are part of a £135 million investment by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) with matched funding provided by local health and social services.

Our work builds on research conducted by our predecessors, the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for West Midlands, and the CLAHRC Birmingham and Black Country pilot.