天美传媒 awards research grants to tackle health inequalities in BLMK

Thu 23 May, 2024
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Three innovative research projects have been announced as the first recipients of a grant programme launched by the 天美传媒 and the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board.

The programme aims to improve knowledge and understanding of health inequalities in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) and will see the 天美传媒 and the (ICS) work closely to pump-prime research and innovation ideas from service providers across the local area.

Professor Yannis Pappas, Director of the BLMK Research & Innovation Hub, announced the successful applicants at the 鈥Integration in Action鈥 conference held at the 天美传媒 on 13 May. Each recipient will receive a grant of up to 拢15,000 for work lasting up to 12 months on a project which addresses at least one of the ICS鈥檚 strategic priorities.

Professor Andrew Church, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation at the 天美传媒, said: 鈥淲e are delighted to be able to award this funding to three very innovative and exciting research projects. Each of the projects will work to tackle at least one of the Integrated Care System鈥檚 strategic priorities so we are pleased to be working closely alongside the BLMK ICS to support the research and we look forward to seeing the outcomes.鈥

, Chair of the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, added: 鈥淚鈥檓 delighted that we have been able to make our first research grant awards. Our health and social care system relies heavily on a solid evidence base, and this programme is an essential part of that.

鈥淚 know these three worthy recipients will make a difference to residents through the work they are undertaking, so that we can reduce health inequalities, promote growth and help people to live longer, healthier lives in the local area.鈥

Click on each of the projects below to find out more.

A project to provide patient-centred proactive care by identifying patients aged 75 and over who are not on a disease register (for example, for asthma, diabetes, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), serious mental illness or dementia), who will benefit from health interventions. Proactive health checks for this age group largely stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic and, despite being an entitlement for patients who request one, there was no evidence that these were taking place at the current time. In a pilot, 40% of patients in this cohort were identified by their screening to have one or more needs.

The project will adopt a proactive anticipatory approach to identify patients who are increasingly frail and isolated, providing multidisciplinary care to proactively resolve health and social issues at an early stage. This in turn is intended to minimise health and care crisis situations, reducing demand on both primary and secondary care. The research element will consider whether the approach could be adopted by other Primary Care Networks for patients with this profile.

This research project, led by Deepika Lawrence, an occupational therapist specialising in frailty for Ascent Primary Care Network in Milton Keynes, has been awarded 拢15,000 over the course of 12 months and will report by July 2025.听 Academic leads for this programme at the 天美传媒 are Professor David Hewson and Sarah Page.

Deepika said: 鈥淚 am delighted to receive this funding award to work with the 天美传媒 and the Integrated Care Board. With occupational therapists being fairly new to the primary care workforce, it is encouraging to see research and innovation is being promoted amongst allied health professionals like myself. I am passionate about promoting proactive healthcare and I'm excited to see where this project will lead us.鈥

A project to identify factors which affect patients鈥 chance of recovery following a myocardial infarction (heart attack).听 Patients under 75 in Luton are significantly more likely to die from circulatory disease than those in either the East of England, or England as a whole, and its outcomes are significantly worse than those in Bedford, despite both towns being served by the same NHS secondary care provider trust.

With the trust having merged two services on the Luton and Bedford sites, it is currently examining key decisions on how to organise and structure them.听 This research will look at where resources might be placed, whether they be preventative, in the hospital setting, or post-event, in the community.

This research project, led by Dr Sadat Edroos, a consultant interventional cardiologist at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, has been awarded 拢14,400 over the course of 12 months and will report by June 2025.听 Academic leads for this programme at the 天美传媒 are Professor Nasreen Ali and Dr Erica Cook.

Dr Edroos said: 鈥淚 am delighted to receive this award to support our work to better understand our health outcomes. We have developed good cardiac services, but still see a high prevalence of premature severe heart disease. This funding brings together academic expertise in health inequalities with the front-line. We will seek links between patient demographics and outcomes. We will interview patients, seeking out those from marginalised communities, to understand the barriers they face, and guide our service. We are honoured and grateful for the support.鈥

A project to evaluate the success of a pilot which works with young people aged 11+ in the Emergency Department at Milton Keynes 天美传媒 Hospital who have been admitted as a result of violence, abuse or mental health challenges.听 Mentors build rapport in the moment and offer ongoing mentoring, signposting and information. This project reduced readmissions to hospital by 50% and won the National Crimebeat Award in 2022.听 A recent expansion of this model into the community will address the links between poor mental health and school attendance.

The research will develop greater understanding of how the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors contribute to tackling social and health inequalities, improving the mental health of young people and reducing youth violence.听 It also aims to identify gaps in service delivery to allow future innovation.听

This research project, led by Nicola Walker, allocations and service manager at YMCA Milton Keynes, has been awarded 拢12,365 over the course of 11 months and will report by April 2025. Academic leads for this programme at the 天美传媒 are Professor Emily Munro and Seana Friel.

Nicola said: 鈥淲e are grateful to receive this funding which could not have come at a better time. YMCA MK is expanding our youth and community work, mentoring young people in a variety of locations and launching youth clubs. We are delighted to have the 天美传媒鈥檚 expert support to help us evidence the impact of our work with young people and inform the expansion and direction of our youth work. Having this support right at the beginning of our journey should allow us to identify any gaps in our service and inform future innovation.鈥


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