Category Archives: NIHR

Letting the cat out of the bag at the Mental Wealth Festival – Dr Sandy Walker

In September, Dr Helen Brooks and I popped over to London for the 2017 Mental Wealth Festival, we were talking about the work we had done looking at how pets can help people manage their long-term mental health problems.

It’s common for academics to be found popping up at conferences and even music festivals these days, telling people what they have been finding out in an effort to spread the word and get the message heard. This was just the activity we were engaged in and one of the benefits for us as academics is that we also get to hear about others work and this gives us ideas.

Perhaps you are wondering what the Mental Wealth Festival (MWF) is all about?

The MWF takes place over 3 days in London . The first day takes place in the Houses of Parliament where Baroness Hollins hosts panel discussions on aspects of mental well-being and the next two days take place predominantly in City Lit, a further education college that serves London. Throughout these two days there is a plethora of wonderful sessions that can be accessed, free of charge, by those registered for the event. Attendees include those with lived experience of mental distress, both themselves and as carers; interested members of the public; policy makers; commissioners and professionals from every group with a role in helping those in mental distress.

It really is the most eclectic, informative and creative space to find yourself in. A place where many, sometimes opposing, worlds collide.

Our talk was full, so we had a great audience of interested people who asked questions all the way along and shared their own experiences of being pet owners. What stood out particularly, and resonated with the findings from our study, was the way in which pets give unconditional love which is consistently there regardless of how we are feeling.

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Dr Sandy Walker (L) and Dr Helen Brooks (R)

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Pets are trusted more than people many said and seem to have an intuitive understanding of their owners, knowing just when to demand to go out or to curl up for a cuddle.

For me most important was the knowledge, which we gained from the study, that for our cohort none of the participants had their pets considered as important network members as part of their care and yet all that had pets stated that they were essential.

The room completely agreed with this and the professionals in the room were clear that pets will be considered more seriously in future, in fact two of the attendees stated that they were relieved to have some research evidence to back up something they had wanted to attend to for a while but had felt reluctant to do so in case they were laughed at.

Contact Dr Sandy Walker

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The importance of the academic citizen in Health Services Research – Dr Gemma McKenna

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It was palpable with research geekery excitement while travelling to Nottingham for the 2017 Health Services Research UK Conference. I needed this, I thought, an opportunity for positivity, to talk enthusiastically about how we as researchers can help sustain the future of the NHS and wider health services. The conference didn’t disappoint.

We are all too aware of the popular rhetoric that consumes newsfeeds and social media channels, with headlines like ‘The NHS is in Crisis’ and ‘too many people are pitching up to A&E’. All doom and gloom. The conference was a perfect antidote to this. While there are no panaceas to these ongoing issues, my fellow health services researchers offered positivity and direction against the troubling backdrop of public service austerity and Brexit uncertainty.

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Should Wessex implement ReSPECT process? – The NIHR CLAHRC Wessex hosted event May 11, 2017

The event in Southampton attracted organisations* from across the Wessex region and beyond and a wide range of people including the public, paramedics, nursing staff, clinicians, managers and researchers.

Many stakeholders were represented bringing together 44 delegates, all there to examine and reflect on whether the ReSPECT approach to decision making for emergency care should be adopted.

Continue reading Should Wessex implement ReSPECT process? – The NIHR CLAHRC Wessex hosted event May 11, 2017

Making the patient central: Mark Stafford-Watson Public Contributor and PPI Champion

Article by Martin Simpson-Scott, PPI Coordinator NIHR CLAHRC Wessex
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Mark Stafford-Watson

Mark Stafford-Watson is one of our NIHR CLAHRC Wessex public contributors. He’s also ‘PPI Champion’ for our Theme 1 research team (Integrated Respiratory Care) – of particular personal relevance to Mark, as he has a long-term respiratory condition.

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OPINION: Tonight’s movie is a set in a dystopian future and stars your local A&E department. Dr Tom Monks

If you surf to a news website right now or flick on the TV news this evening, you might for a moment think that you watching a bad science fiction movie of a dystopian future starring your local A&E department. Sadly, it is real. The news has gone mad about A&E and the waiting time crisis that it faces. This morning the BBC reported that only 82% of patients are meeting the four-hour waiting time target. It doesn’t make pleasant reading.

Continue reading OPINION: Tonight’s movie is a set in a dystopian future and stars your local A&E department. Dr Tom Monks

Location, location, location – The social factors making a difference to kidney health.

Many of us don’t fully understand what our kidneys are for or how they work, but they are important to all of us. A team of us a CLAHRC Wessex have been conducting a big research project to find out more about something called ‘Acute kidney injury’, which is when the kidney suddenly stops working properly. This can make people very ill by causing a build-up of waste products in the blood and upsetting the balance of fluids in the body. As a result, people with acute kidney injury can have longer hospital stays and can experience serious consequences, such as needing dialysis or even dying.

Continue reading Location, location, location – The social factors making a difference to kidney health.

Using Health Systems Analytics to help the NHS improve the quality and equity of services -Dr Marion Penn, Dr Rudabeh Meskarian and Dr Thomas Monks

In Hampshire, Solent NHS Trust and Commissioners are making use of advanced Health Systems Analytics to visualise their demand, and support their decisions about the how many sexual health clinics should be funded to meet future patient need.

Continue reading Using Health Systems Analytics to help the NHS improve the quality and equity of services -Dr Marion Penn, Dr Rudabeh Meskarian and Dr Thomas Monks

Prioritising the fundamentals of care with patients, professionals, carers and the public – Anya de Iongh

As PPI Champion for the Fundamentals of Care theme within NIHR CLAHRC Wessex, I’ve a great experience and opportunity to be an equal member of a team developing the research priorities for this area of work. Crucially, these weren’t priorities that we developed together in a closed room, but rather they were co-produced at several stages.

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Breathe in the knowledge -by Lindsay Welch

lindsay-welchLindsay Welch is the Integrated COPD Team Lead; Solent NHS Trust and UHS NHS Foundation Trust

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a preventable disease and is one of the world’s biggest killers – it causes a narrowing of the breathing tubes and air sacs in our chest and lungs, reducing the amount of oxygen we can get into our bodies. There are several causes, air pollution and exposure to dust, but the main culprit is smoking. It is estimated that over three million people with COPD in the UK but only a quarter of those are diagnosed

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Are some social networks better for self-management than others? Dr Ivaylo Vassilev, Senior Research Fellow

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The everyday management of a long-term condition is almost never done by individuals in isolation from others. The networks of relationships around people may include family members, friends, neighbours, colleagues, health professionals and even pets all of who play an important role in the management of long-term conditions. This is through, for example, their knowledge, support, help with accessing services, resources and valued activities.

Continue reading Are some social networks better for self-management than others? Dr Ivaylo Vassilev, Senior Research Fellow