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About NIHR ARC West Midlands

The Problem

Huge advances have been made in health care over the last century. More recently, it was discovered that many people do not receive treatments of proven value and that treatments are not always administered safely. Sometimes, even the basics, such as communication with patients/carers, are poor. ‘Service delivery research’ helps us understand why people do not receive safe and effective treatment and tests ways to support frontline staff in delivering the best care. This is the research we will do in our Centre.

What will we study?

Our Centre will focus on four areas:

  1. People with long-term conditions.
  2. People who suddenly become unwell.
  3. Young people in the community at risk of mental illness.
  4. Maternity care.

In identifying these needs, we have worked in partnership with the public and our local communities, and with those who provide and deliver health and social care services.

What will we contribute?

We will:

  1. Make sure that changes made to services are informed by evidence.
  2. Work with service providers and the public to design service changes.
  3. Evaluate changes by making observations in the service before, during and after the changes are made.

What are the issues we will confront?

One major issue we will address across all our four themes is the coordination of care. People often receive care in different places: GP surgeries, their own homes, care homes, hospitals and community clinics. Patients and carers have described that care is not joined-up and people delivering care have told us that coordinating care is a challenge. We will look at ways care can be better integrated to provide improved outcomes and a better experience for patients. We understand that patients all have different circumstances and preferences, so we want to develop processes to enable people to make decisions about their care that are right for them.

What skills and experience do we have to address difficult issues?

Our work is informed by the latest management/organisational science knowledge and, working with Warwick Business School, we shall learn more about barriers to service improvement and how they can be overcome. We shall also continue our world-leading work on research methods so that we can provide the most reliable findings while fitting in with service timetables.

Our legacy

Our mission is to create a culture where close collaboration between researchers, the services and the people who use the services becomes the rule, not the exception. We are committed to ensuring that in five years’ time the outcome will be better health and a service in which every pound of the public’s contribution goes on services that use the best evidence of what works. The results we obtain will be shared around the world so that people everywhere can benefit from what we learn.

About the NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research and provides the people, facilities and technology that enables research to thrive.

NIHR's mission is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The NIHR was established in 2006 and is primarily funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Working in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public, the NIHR delivers and enables world-class research that transforms people’s lives, promotes economic growth and advances science.

About ARCs

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations, and local health and care systems. There are 15 ARCs across England, part of a £135m investment by the NIHR to improve the health and care of patients and the public.

Each NIHR ARC is made up of local providers of NHS services, local providers of care services, NHS commissioners, local authorities, universities, private companies and charities. These collaborations work together to conduct high quality, generalisable, applied health and care research that addresses the specific health or care issues in their region.

NIHR ARCs also act to close the second translational gap and increase the rate at which research findings are implemented into practice.

The 15 ARCs work collaboratively to address national research priorities, with individual ARCs providing national leadership in their areas of expertise.