Multi-million pound investment to improve the health of the North East @NTWNHS

Experts in the region are leading a national project to address health inequalities in the country and the prevention of poor health.

A new government £16 million health improvement programme in the North East and North Cumbria has been awarded to a collaboration hosted by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) and led by Newcastle University.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has just announced its funding for Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) to tackle key issues facing the health and social care system, including increasing demands on services due to an ageing population and aspects linked to austerity.

We’re extremely pleased to have been awarded this funding, and especially excited that this is the first time the North East has been part of an NIHR Applied Research Collaboration.

This funding will support health, care and wellbeing across the region through research, with academic partners, which addresses health inequalities and contributes to making the North East a better, healthier place to live.

John LawlorNTW Chief Executive

A collaboration between universities, the NHS, local authorities, voluntary organisations, charities and businesses will tackle issues causing health and care inequalities in the region.

These will include developing ideas which will try to give children the best start in life and which help keep people healthier at home for longer.

It is the first time that the North East and North Cumbria has received this funding. It will be used to support researchers, practitioners and members of the public who will work together to improve health and also shape how care is delivered.

Views of patients, their families and members of the public will be sought so that the ARC projects reflect problems that are important to local communities.

The ARC will allow the development of a new team of 23 junior and 11 senior trainee researchers working across universities, healthcare and social care to improve the quality of life for people in the region.

Research themes will focus on aspects such as prevention of poor health, integrating health and social care for physical and mental health difficulties, staying healthy with long-term conditions, and using new technology and information to improve lives.

The project involves 56 organisations in the North East and North Cumbria. The core funding provided by the NIHR is £9 million for five years, however, regional partners have contributed an additional £7 million.

Professor Eileen Kaner and Dr Chris Price, from Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences, are leading the project.

We are excited about receiving this funding because of the new opportunities it will bring to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the area.

Our region has challenges due to its geography and there are more health problems that need to be addressed than other parts of the country. Therefore, it is apt that we have been asked by the NIHR to take a national lead on prevention and also on health inequalities.

The ARC funding allows researchers to focus on the biggest health and social issues in our area and develop real solutions that reflect the needs and views of people living here.

Much of the work will focus on the lives of people in the community rather than in hospital, especially people with common long-term physical and mental health problems.

Professor Eileen KanerNewcastle University Faculty of Medical Sciences

Image: Newcastle University, which is leading the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration in the North East.