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What happens next? A research perspective from former PenARC PhD student, Dr Ross Watkins

Posted on January 18th 2021
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Dr Ross Watkins

In this series we talk to some of our past PhD students about why they got into research, what an ARC PhD meant to them, and what happened next in their research careers. At PenARC we believe in creating opportunities for research training as an investment in the future of the research community and in our capacity to positively impact on health outcomes for patients and the public. Our studentships are linked to our research themes and priority areas and students receive expert supervision and guidance from our academic colleagues.

Here we meet Dr Ross Watkins, currently working in the Department for Health...

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Could physical activity help minimise drug and alcohol use?

Posted on December 17th 2020
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Could physical activity help minimise drug and alcohol use?

Figures and surveys have shown that high-risk alcohol consumption increased during lockdown periods, while exercise decreased.

Now researchers are exploring whether increased physical activity could help reduce alcohol and drug misuse long after social restrictions have lifted. 

A research team, co-led by Professor of Health Services Research, Professor Adrian Taylor, recently carried out two reviews of existing studies, which showed that little data was available and more work was needed to understand the links between physical activity and its effects on alcohol and drug use. 

By understanding the evidence already available, the researchers are able to take the next steps towards creating evidence for the...

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£300,000 from NIHR to investigate the views of older adults on strategies to improve recovery from planned surgery

Posted on December 10th 2020
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£300,000 from NIHR to investigate the views of older adults on strategies to improve recovery from planned surgery

A team of researchers from across the University of Exeter Medical School, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, the EPPI-Centre at University College London and PenARC has secured £300,000 in funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to continue their work into the impact of strategies to improve the recovery of older adults undergoing planned surgery.

The research builds on work completed by the Exeter Health Services & Delivery Research Evidence Synthesis Centre last year, which comprehensively evaluated the effectiveness of hospital-led interventions that aim to improve the recovery of older adults undergoing planned surgical procedures requiring an...

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'Why physical activity matters more than ever'

Posted on December 1st 2020
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Jogger running on open road
Professor of Health Service Research, Adrian Taylor, discusses motivation, exercise schemes, and the future impact on the NHS

Physical inactivity, which results in conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, low mood, and high blood pressure, costs the NHS over £455 million every year – and the contribution to excess morbidity and mortality since the COVID pandemic have still to be calculated.

Exercise not only helps people with long-term conditions better manage their health but also boosts the immune system. So how can we support more people to be physically active?

It’s not just about putting on different sessions and telling people...

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Dementia expert takes 'dementia friendly' message to 10 Downing Street

Posted on October 13th 2020
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Dementia expert takes 'dementia friendly' message to 10 Downing Street

A PenARC colleague has met the Prime Minister to ask for his backing to help local councils become ‘dementia friendly’.

Ian Sherriff BEM, Academic Partnership Lead for Dementia in the University of Plymouth’s Faculty of Health, travelled to Number 10 with fellow Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador, journalist, and TV presenter Angela Rippon.

Ian, a leading figure in dementia policy and research nationally and internationally, discussed his work to make life easier for people with the condition, including a recent project with the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).

Earlier this year, Ian and N.A.L.C  surveyed all 10,000 local (parish and town) councils to find out what...

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October 2020 Newsletter

Posted on October 8th 2020
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October 2020 Newsletter

Our latest newsletter, with news of our continued COVID-related activities, the launch of our new collaborative research programme in Children's Health and Maternity and our third, and largest, cohort of Health Service Modelling Associates is out now!

October 2020 Newsletter

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Mental Health Facility at Torbay Hospital begins construction

Posted on October 6th 2020
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(L-R) Melanie Walker, Chief Executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust; Doug Lloyd from Kier and Andy Willis, Chair of Devon Partnership NHS Trust.

The construction of a new £11.8 million Mental Health facility, supported by research undertaken as part of our Health Services Modelling Associates Programme (HSMA), has begun at Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s (DPT) Torbay Hospital.

The scheme, which will reduce the need for patients to travel outside of Devon for treatment, will create a unit on two floors providing a ward with 16 en-suite bedrooms, treatment and therapy rooms and offices.

The HSMA programme is an annual scheme that helps health service employees across the South West to use data modelling to tackle a work-based research project to solve a specific issue or...

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£2.5 million to study group treatment programme for people with severe obesity

Posted on September 25th 2020
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£2.5 million to study group treatment programme for people with severe obesity

Photo credit World Obesity Federation

A team of researchers has been awarded nearly £2.5 million from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

PenARC researchers will work with colleagues at the University of Exeter Medical School and the University of Plymouth, the NHS, patients and the Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit (PenCTU), to investigate whether an intensive group-based behavioural programme called PRO-GROUP is less costly and more effective than usual care for people with severe obesity, and can save money.

The research, which arose from PenARC's question prioritisation process, involves the Plymouth and West Devon Weight Management Service which is provided by Livewell Southwest...

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Operational Research to help improve patients’ experience of mental health services in the South West

Posted on September 22nd 2020
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Operational Research to help improve patients’ experience of mental health services in the South West

Computer modelling is helping to develop a tool that supports decision-making for patients and clinicians when accessing Mental Health Services. The tool, developed by PenARC's Operational Research team PenCHORD, sets out to provide a clear picture of a patient’s service use history to help identify the most effective next steps in a patient’s treatment plan.

Experiencing mental health issues can lead patients to access a range of services by a variety of routes. This can mean that patients don't always receive the most effective treatment at the most appropriate time and result in increased costs for hospital Trusts. Traditionally, data that reflects the way...

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NIHR ARCs awarded £13.125 million to fund key national research priorities

Posted on September 8th 2020
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NIHR ARCs awarded £13.125 million to fund key national research priorities

The National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaborations (NIHR ARCs) have secured £13.125 million to develop key research programmes over the next three years.

The NIHR, the nation’s largest funder of health and care research, invited proposals from the 15 newly formed NIHR ARCs to lead applied research in national priority areas to help solve the most pressing issues facing health and social care today. ARCs are collaborations between universities, health and social care providers, commissioners, charities and local authorities.

Successful ARCs have been awarded £1.875 million to lead a consortium of ARCs working with patients and service users to develop better...

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