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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

MRes studentship in Youth Mental Health Theme

People with learning disabilities (LD) have higher physical and mental health needs but these needs can often go unmet resulting in poorer health than those without an LD. In addition, people with rare genetic syndromes associated with LD (e.g. fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome) are at even higher risk of some health conditions. For example, clinical levels of anxiety occur in 82.5% of people with fragile X syndrome (Cordeiro et al., 2011) and congenital heart defects occur in 50% of people with Down’s syndrome (Freeman et al., 1998). Health inequalities for people with LD in the UK largely result from barriers in accessing timely and effective health care.

Annual health checks for people with LD aged 14 and above were introduced to reduce health inequalities in this population and provide timely identification of unmet physical and mental health needs. However, recent NHS Digital Data suggest that uptake is less than 50%. Research is needed to understand the barriers to the effective healthcare for people with LD.

This project will investigate physical and mental health in people with idiopathic intellectual disability and those with rare genetic syndromes. It will also explore ways to reduce health inequalities for this population by improving the quality and uptake of Annual Health Checks for people with learning disabilities through the development of an integrated care model between primary care, secondary care, and schools.

This studentship is funded by the NIHR Applied Research Centre West Midlands (ARC WM). ARC WM is a five-year initiative commencing in October 2019 with a mission to create lasting and effective collaborations across health and social care organisations, universities (Birmingham, Keele, Warwick) and local authorities to improve the services we can deliver for patient benefit.

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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.