Season's Greeting from NIHR ARCs - ARC Community e-newsletter Issue 2

Published Date: 17 Dec 2019

Welcome to our last ARC community newsletter of 2019, where we bring you news from across the collaborations.
Our newsletter will be getting a new look in 2020, so watch this space.

A big thank you to our readers and we wish you all the best for the holiday season! 

ARC North West CoastLaunch event hosts ARC national meetings
ARC NWC was delighted to hold its formal launch event in Blackpool on 20th November 2019, which included hosting the inaugural meetings of all new national ARC Directors, Programme Managers and Implementation Leads.
Over 150 people heard Dr Louise Wood, Director of Science, Research and Evidence at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), outline the importance of the £135m+ investment in ARCs and suggested the acronym could also mean A for Ambition, R for Reach and C for Collaboration. 
She commented: “In response to a survey that we did, one person said ‘what you guys at the NIHR need to be focussing on is ‘helping people to be born well, live well and die well’.  To me that is what gets me up in the morning, and I think that those three elements are absolutely core to what the cohorts of the NIHR ought to be doing.”
Public advisers, researchers and staff from CLAHRC NWC presented highlights of the organisation’s legacy work, demonstrating impact on communities, individuals and organisations through the collaborative work undertaken to reduce health inequalities.
This included announcing research findings of work with several hospitals on patients presenting with symptoms of seizures in accident and emergency departments, creative ways of capturing stories from communities of individuals facing social isolation and a personal insight from a service user/public adviser into an evaluation project of a community based mental health service.
Jan Ledward, Chief Officer of Liverpool CCG (ARC NWC host), formally launched the ARC NWC. Her speech highlighted how close engagement with the CLAHRC NWC had brought substantial benefits to the organisation through developing skills and enthusiasm for research.
Professor Mark Gabbay, Director of ARC NWC, said: “ARCs are about what matters to local communities, and we have seen today examples of impact, which we can build, share and collaborate on with other ARCs. It’s a great start.”
Follow-us @ARC_NWC

ARC Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Led by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Professor Stephen Peckham at the University of Kent, the ARC KSS will focus on regional challenges including:

  • Significant social deprivation, mainly located in our coastal towns
  • Numerous GP practice closures resulting in a high GP to patient ratio
  • Higher than average children in care, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and young people with self-harm and emotional problems
  • A higher proportion of older people
  • The highest concentration of people with dementia in the UK

Message from the Director, Professor Stephen Peckham:
“As Director, I am delighted to work with researchers from across our partner health and social care organisations and universities to develop much needed research to help improve services and train the next generation of health and social care researchers.”
ARC KSS Themes:

  • Social care: Person-centred, community-based social care, including how changes in service provision impacts on service users, their families, carers and others.
  • Starting Well: Early detection and intervention of mental health problems in children and young people 
  • Primary and Community Services: Sustainable and integrated care 
  • Dementia: Living well with dementia 
  • Co-production: Involving and working with patients and the public to co-produce and implement research
  • Public Health: Improving health among older patients with multiple conditions and younger people at time of transition
  • Digital Innovation: Harnessing digital technology to help create a sustainable health and social care system
  • Health and Social Care Economics: Using best practice to fund efficient health and social care services of benefit to patients

Follow us @ARC_KSS

ARC South London
Interested in how adult day centres can support people to live in the community?
Join ARC South London’s Day Centre Research Forum in January. The forum is an opportunity for researchers, people working in the field and others to discuss care and to network.
The forum will cover centres for adults with care and support needs arising from dementia, complex disabilities, long-term conditions, end of life support needs, homelessness, and centres for older people.
Presentations will include:

  • ‘The impact of day care on older people with multiple long-term conditions’, by Dr Catherine Lunt, University of Liverpool
  • ‘Outcomes of generalist day centres for older people: not just social inclusion and meals’, by Dr Katharine Orellana, King’s College London.

When: Thursday 30 January, 2-4pm
Where: Policy Institute, Virginia Woolf Building, London WC2R 1LS
RSVP: The forum is free, but please book your place at:

Join ARC South London for a week of events dedicated to implementation science.
Implementation Science Masterclass 15 and 16 July, Implementation Science Research Conference 17 July.
Register with us to stay up to date on our news and developments, and follow us @arc_s_l

ARC West Midlands
Margaret Peters Centre
The Margaret Peters Centre was launched at the Institute for Translational Medicine in University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust on 13th November. This virtual centre is an initiative between ARC West Midlands (led by Professor Richard Lilford) and supported through co-funding from the host Trust University Hospitals Birmingham. The Centre is named after one of the pioneers in electronic prescribing who, over 40 years from the 1960s, worked across the University and Trust and whose vision has created some of the datasets on which we now base some of our analysis.  It will seek to bridge the gap between the routine analysis and processing of data in hospitals and the interesting questions which exist in clinical and academic teams, bringing together the expertise of managers, clinicians and academics with questions that can be answered through the analysis of local and national hospital datasets through health informaticians based within the Trust.
One of the main obstacles to carers not receiving the support they need is a lack of identification that they are a carer.  STATUS QUO is a research study examining general practice identification and recording of carers.  An innovative data collection methodology, using automated check-in screens, has been developed, tested and perfected to create an efficient way to recruit and capture data from a captive patient group.  The use of this methodology for the research has been awarded the NIHR CRN West Midlands Creative Recruitment 2019 award.  The speed at which research can be conducted with this methodology, participants recruited and the very low costs involved, will allow more research to be carried out, allowing rapid evidence based changes to be implemented to improve care for patients.  Given the convenience of this method, it also allows participants to engage effectively, increasing the exposure of research to patients in the community.
Follow us @ARC_WM 

ARC South West Peninsula
Developing the capacity of the health and care community to access and use research evidence to support their clinical practice was a pillar of the CLAHRC programme and remains a key objective of PenARC. We do this by providing a range of training opportunities to help healthcare professionals put evidence into practice because we believe that better care can be provided to patients when it’s based on the best evidence.
Our Making Sense of Evidence Team deliver training sessions to help healthcare professionals formulate a research question and to effectively organise, appraise and apply evidence. We also run free events like our annual Evidence-Based Medicine conference. This year, GP Dr Alex Burns delivered the plenary entitled “Evidence based Medicine: Why Bother?” explaining how he had used evidence-based practice in Sierra Leone alongside VSO volunteers to help rebuild health services after the trauma of Ebola. Delegates were able to attend a number of workshops including a session on the SHERPA model, a new model for applying evidence-based practice in the context of multimorbidity.
PenARC will also continue to build on the success of our Health Service Modelling Associates (HSMA) Programme, which employs an innovative approach to capacity building. The programme trains NHS staff across the region in the latest advances in computer simulation. Working within their own NHS organisations, associates can undertake advanced modelling, simulation and analysis work on specific projects. The skills developed during the HSMA programme are leading to real impact in the NHS in terms of service delivery and design and embedding operational research as a decision-making tool. An example of this impact can be seen in Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s securing of £8 million funding for a new adult mental health ward at Torbay Hospital in which HSMA associate Karl Vile’s research was instrumental.
Follow us @Peninsula_ARC 

ARC Greater Manchester
Hazardous prescribing SMASHed across GM
Researchers at GM PSTRC have created the ‘Safe Medication daSHboard’ (SMASH).  SMASH is an easy-to-view electronic dashboard that helps general practices identify patients at-risk of medication errors and take action before any potential harm can occur. SMASH was trialled across Salford with impressive results; in addition to substantially reducing the numbers of at-risk patients, the reduction was sustained after 12 months.
Due to this success, Health Innovation Manchester will roll out SMASH across Greater Manchester in 2020. However, this is far from straightforward as there are numerous technical, legal, and information governance challenges which need to be overcome. ARC GM are evaluating the roll-out, focusing on understanding the challenges of implementation across different localities and the effects on serious harm outcomes.
The outputs developed from this collaboration will form a template that other areas in the country can follow leading to improved outcomes for patients.
Follow us @ARC_GM_

ARC East Midlands 
A new era in applied health research for the East Midlands
On 1 October, CLAHRC East Midlands became Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands. The new funding will allow vital work to take place to tackle the region’s health and care priorities, putting in place more evidenced-based frameworks to drive up standards of care and save time and money. 
Our work will be in line with the following six themes:

Our achievements are celebrated in this new brochure, which also highlights our activities going forward. Read more.

Leading nationally on Multimorbidity research
ARC EM are proud to be leading nationally on multimorbidity and equality, diversity and inclusion of under-represented groups, areas where we have dedicated expertise and a track record in delivering cutting-edge research. The first meeting of the cross-ARC group on multimorbidity took place at the Leicester Diabetes Centre on Tuesday 27 August 2019.  The Director of ARC EM, Professor Kamlesh Khunti, hosted the meeting. Approximately 50 attended the event with almost all the ARCs represented. The NIHR, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK and the Royal College of Psychiatry also sent representatives to the meeting. 
All the ARCs gave presentations outlining their approach to researching multimorbidity. The event then broke up into three individual workshops to consider future working and capacity building. The event agreed on the need for continued collaboration. A report on this event is being prepared by ARC EM and will be circulated to all interested parties. 

Season’s Greetings!
We wish our followers a happy festive season and very best wishes for the New Year! Thank you to all our patient groups and partners across the East Midlands in the NHS, academia, social care, industry and the voluntary sector who continue to support our work through involvement in our projects and other activities.

ARC East of England
Our first 3 months as ARC East of England
We formerly launched our ARC EoE at a big event on the 15th of October, attended by a great range of stakeholders including researchers, health and social care providers, partner organisations, and patient and public representatives. Our research themes have held numerous regional events to explore research priorities, potential collaborations and community engagement in our four populations in focus. The national co-led work with ARC South London in the themes of mental health, and palliative and end of life care is taking shape. We are recruiting lay members for our Public and community involvement, engagement and participation (PCIEP) coordinating group, which will also include researchers and implementation leads - in readiness to get started in the new year. Capacity building has got off to a good start with the successful appointment of 8 research and implementation fellows, and we will soon be advertising for PhD students per theme. Implementation plans for evidence generated both by CLAHRC and ARC are well-underway.
A big thank you to everyone involved in ARC; we wish you a very merry holiday season and a happy new year!
Follow us @ARC_EoE, and see more information here:

You can see news from other ARCs via their twitter: 

See more information on the NIHR website: