CaHRU sleep research cited in UK parliamentary briefings on Sleep and Health

Sleep and healthResearch from CaHRU was cited in the recently published parliamentary briefing on Sleep and Health and Sleep and Long-term Health. The briefing was issued as a POSTnote from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and cited CAHRU’s work on primary care for insomnia including the Resources for Effective Sleep Treatment (REST) website. Professor Graham Law and Niro Siriwardena met with one of the co-authors Lev Tankelevitch earlier this year to discuss their work.

Sleep and longterm healthThe briefing on Sleep and Health also cites two systematic reviews led by CaHRU’s Dr Coral Sirdifield on patient and general practitioner (GP) perceptions of the problems of benzodiazepine sleeping pills, an article by Prof Siriwardena providing guidance for GPs, and the OASIS trial (led by Prof Dan Freeman of Oxford University) showing the effects of treatment using digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (dCBTi) on psychiatric symptoms. The briefing on Sleep and Long-term Health  research papers on sleep assessment and the DIALS trial showing the effect of dCBTI on quality of life which is due for publication this autumn.

rest-logoThe REST project is also explicitly mentioned: ‘One strategy to improve training for healthcare professionals is through online training developed by the Resources for Effective Sleep Treatment project’ and the REST e-learning programme for GPs and healthcare staff has been accessed over 16,000 times by users in over 160 countries.

POSTnotes are distributed in paper copies to Parliamentarians, placed in the reference libraries of both Houses of Parliament and also promoted via social media using Twitter @POST_UK. CaHRU are currently collaborating in a major trial of sleep restriction therapy in primary care, the HABIT trial. You can find out more about our work on sleep from our infographic on ‘Sleep and Insomnia‘.

By Prof Niro Siriwardena

Continuing to Work with Parliament

Dr Coral Sirdifield and Dr Rebecca Marples from CaHRU are continuing to engage with parliament and raise awareness of the research that they are doing around healthcare for people on probation. Earlier this month they met with Dr Phillip Lee, MP for Bracknell and former Minister for Youth Justice, Victims, Female Offenders and Offender Health. Coral and Rebecca discussed their current work on their Improving Healthcare Commissioning for Probation: Mapping the Landscape project, and Dr Lee agreed to be part of the external advisory group for this project.

Portcullis House2

Coral and Rebecca have also recently contributed to the Ministry of Justice Consultation on the proposed changes to the structure and content of probation services Strengthening Probation, building confidence. Here they have highlighted the importance of focusing on the health of offenders to reduce health inequalities in society, meet public health targets, reduce reoffending, and save money that is currently wasted on avoidable use of crisis services and the costs associated with reoffending. Here and in their research, Coral’s team are providing an evidence base and offering practical solutions to some of the problems around improving offenders’ health and access to healthcare.

Learning the importance of research impact at the Doctoral Training Alliance summer school

PhD student Laura Simmons attended the Doctoral Training Alliance Biosciences for Health summer school hosted by the University of Huddersfield on the 24th-26th July. During the 3-day event students took part in a variety of workshops that focused on how individuals can make an impact with their research.

DTA summer school 3The main focus of the summer school was the Impact Challenge where students had to present a pitch to a group of judges on a particular research topic. We were encouraged to choose a goal, define the outcomes, outputs and funding requirements. This provided a great opportunity for students to consider how much funding would be required and what resources would be needed to carry out the project. We were also encouraged to consider our connections to external charities and organisations that could help us in achieving the project goals.

There were a variety of projects that were presented during the summer school including: a uterus massage to reduce haemorrhaging and maternal mortality (Laura Simmons); a diabetes mobile app to reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote health (Sophie Mohamed); and implementing an online training course to empower healthcare workforces in developing countries (Ksenia Trischel).

DTA summer school 2Laura and her team were one of three groups who were awarded ‘funding’ from the judging panel (awarded in chocolate coins) for their work on developing an educational programme to reduce haemorrhaging during childbirth to reduce maternal mortality.

Overall the Impact Challenge was a useful exercise that mirrored the real life expectations of working with colleagues to produce a funding application. It challenged us to think outside the box and consider the impact that the project may have from other perspectives such as the economy.

For more information about the Doctoral Training Alliance visit their website

By Laura Simmons

CaHRU at SAPC Annual Scientific Meeting London 2018

sapcProfessor Siriwardena attended the Society for Academic Primary Care Annual Scientific Meeting which this year was hosted by Barts and the London Queen Mary University of London took place at his alma mater of St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, with the main conference sessions at the Guildhall School of Music and the Barbican Centre. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Learning from Europe and populations on the move’.

IMG_20180711_181326_resized_20180728_102904715The first day taken up by the Heads of Departments meeting, was punctuated by the RAF centenary flypast over London. Highlights of the conference included the 5th Helen Lester Memorial Lecture given by Professor Anne McFarlane, with the enigmatic title ‘The leper’s squint: spaces for participation in primary health care’. There were further plenaries given by Professor Val Wass on ‘Populations on the move’ and Lord Victor Adebowale, past Chancellor of the University of Lincoln on ‘Primary care: exclusion, inclusion and community’.

IMG_20180711_182711_resized_20180728_102905044CaHRU’s research ‘Explaining differences in Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners Applied Knowledge Test performance associated with candidate sex and ethnicity’ which featured as an oral presentation in a session on education was well received. There were many excellent and interesting oral presentations, posters and workshops including an interesting session facilitated by Prof Deborah Swinglehurst (QMUL) and Dr Stefan Hjorleifsson (University of Bergen) on ‘resisting too much medicine’.



sapc2018aFinally there was an excellent social programme including drinks in the Great Hall at Barts, dinner at the Tower Hotel beside the Tower of London and an interesting walk though London with Dr Sally Hull.

By Prof Niro Siriwardena