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Launch of joint South West AHSN/PenCLAHRC research projects

Posted on June 30th 2014

PenCLAHRC is pleased to announce, in conjunction with the South West Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), the launch of three collaborative research projects.

These projects, funded by the AHSN and undertaken jointly with PenCLAHRC, will focus on the areas of stroke, diagnosing heart attacks and the management of long-term conditions.

Following on from PenCLAHRC’s award-winning research on stroke treatment pathways, the Emergency Treatment of Ischaemic Stroke project will build on these successes to investigate how to achieve a step-change in the emergency stroke treatment pathway across the South West Peninsula. Led by PenCLAHRC’s operational research group, PenCHORD, this project aims to create computer simulations of patient flows through hospital departments in order to identify, and ultimately remove, barriers that may delay life-saving treatment.

The Diagnosing Myocardial Infarctions in A&E project will examine the ways in which heart attacks are diagnosed in an emergency setting. Chest pain is the most common cause of emergency hospital admissions in the UK, but diagnosing whether a heart attack (myocardial infarction) is the cause of the chest pain can be difficult. This project will explore the effectiveness of using a drug (high sensitivity cardiac troponin) to diagnosis heart attacks quickly and reliable, thus speeding up treatment for those needing it and reducing unnecessary tests for those not having a heart attack.  

PenCLAHRC has previously carried out research on patient-initiated clinics for rheumatoid arthritis and will now expand this  research to include Patient-Initiated Clinics for Long-Term Conditions. As the name suggests, these clinics occur when patients initiate consultant appointments when they need them (rather than at a particular set interval) and are an alternative approach to the traditional regular follow-up appointment. PICs are found to be, not only cost-effective, but beneficial in terms of quality of life and patient and clinician satisfaction. This project, in collaboration with the AHSN, will investigate the application of PICs to a range of long-term conditions.
South West AHSN Managing Director, Dr Renny Leach, commented

"Our early collaboration with PenCLAHRC is a great boost to our ability to deliver tangible benefits to our membership across the South West.  A key role for the SW AHSN is to work with our academic partners in identifying best practice and accelerating the implementation of evidence-based research to improve patient outcomes. We are pleased to be working closely and collaboratively with PenCLAHRC and look forward to reaping the benefits that this partnership will deliver to our members and the population of the South West and further afield".

PenCLAHRC Director, Professor Stuart Logan, agreed,

“I am really pleased that our close links with the AHSN have borne fruit and we are collaborating on these new research projects, which will directly benefit patients in the South West. I am looking forward to seeing the impact from this research and continuing to work with the AHSN in future.”

You can read more about the stroke project here, about the diagnosis of heart attacks project here and the patient-initiated clinics projects here.

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