The latest CaHRU/NHS Research Forum took place on 7th June 2017 at the University of Lincoln. The Research Forum, which takes place three times a year, is an opportunity for colleagues to showcase their research particularly focussing on studies conducted within Lincolnshire. The meeting began with a lunch and was attended by NHS staff, university staff and students, and colleagues interested in health and social care research.
At the forum three researchers presented their work: Helene Markham (the University of Lincoln & United Lincolnshire Hospitals); Michael Toze, PhD student at CaHRU and Dr Murray Smith, Research Fellow in Econometrics and Health Economics in CaHRU.
Helene was first to present on her doctoral study entitled: ‘Evaluating follow-up and complexity in cancer clinical trials’. Helene explained that her study seeks to develop an objective methodology to define and quantify trial complexity, intensity and workload to improve operational management and enhance models of trial delivery.
Next, Michael Toze presented his doctoral work on older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) people’s experiences of primary care. His study sought to elicit older LGBT people’s experience of healthcare when consulting with their GP or primary care staff.
Last but not the least was Dr Murray Smith who discussed his work relating to ‘Value of specialist shoulder physiotherapy in the perspective of cost effectiveness’ which involved a cost analysis of extended scope physiotherapy.
All three speakers gave excellent presentations of their work, and there was a lively discussion and response to questions following each. Professor Niro Siriwardena, Director of the Community and Health Research Centre (CaHRU) thanked the speakers and the attendees for helping to make the forum a successful event.
The latest CaHRU Implementation Science and Research Methods seminar was given on November 22nd 2016 by CaHRU’s very own Dr Stephanie Armstrong. Stephanie, currently a Lecturer in Healthcare Quality Improvement at the University of Lincoln, comes from a diverse background, starting in the fields of Zoology (Trinity College Dublin) and Equine Studies (University of Coventry), moving on to studying Forensic Anthropology (University of Lincoln) and working on ethics and human rights. She is now researching the ethics of ambulance trials through a grant funded by the Wellcome Trust: Network exploring Ethics of Ambulance Trials (NEAT).
Stephanie’s talk focused on research ethics. She started the seminar by asking the participants to think about ethics and what their definition of ethics was. After a quick discussion around the participants’ thoughts, Stephanie gave an overall definition of research ethics and discussed issues around both the philosophical and legal aspects of ethics. The majority of the seminar was around the four basic constructs of research ethics: autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice. Stephanie discussed the most relevant and important laws concerning research, such as the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations (2004) – for Clinical Trials Involving Medicinal Products (CTIMPs), before reviewing the different types of participant consent used in research studies. At the end of the seminar, Stephanie reminded the attendees of the importance of ethics in animal research and discussed issues around its governance by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
The seminar was very well presented and raised some very important issues around research ethics. The next Implementation Science and Research Methods seminar will be presented by Professor Chris Bridle, Director of the Institute for Health at the University of Lincoln, on Tuesday December 6th 2016. His topic will be “Accumulative Evidence Synthesis: fast track through the implementation pipeline”.
CaHRU, in conjunction with NHS partners including East Midlands Ambulance Service and Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trusts, held its latest Research Forum of 2016 on 16th November. The forum followed its usual two-hour format with three speakers giving detailed presentations about a study they have been working on and then responding to questions.
The first presentation was from Dr Murray Smith, CaHRU’s health economist and econometrician, who talked about ‘An Economic Feasibility Study on the Fluoridation of Drinking Water in the East Midlands’. This study is being led by NHS Nottingham City on behalf of all nine primary care trusts in the East Midlands. It examined the cost of setting up fluoridation plants, where they would be and the cost of ongoing maintenance. Ultimately, the feasibility study will produce a report for each of the areas covered by the nine participating primary care trusts.
Next was Professor Niro Siriwardena who presented on behalf of Dr Zahid Asghar on their study examining the performance of candidates with dyslexia in the Applied Knowledge Test (ATK) for Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). A key finding of the study was that there was no evidence of differential attainment in candidates declaring dyslexia compared with those who did not once other candidate attributes such as age, gender, ethnicity and country of primary medical qualification had been accounted for.
Dr Stephanie Armstrong concluded the Research Forum by presenting findings from the Network exploring the Ethics of Ambulance Trials (NEAT) study. This is a Wellcome funded study led by the University of Lincoln and involving a number of other UK, as well as Dutch and Swiss, universities. The study has been running for less than a year but has already achieved an impressive set of outcomes. These include: a systematic review of published randomised controlled trials; a review of global and national regulations; and preliminary results of interviews with expert informants, paramedics and patients who have been involved in ambulance trials.
Dr Stephanie Armstrong joined CaHRU this month to work on the Wellcome Trust funded ‘Network exploring Ethics in Ambulance Trials (NEAT)’ project. She says, “I come to Community and Health Research Unit from a rather diverse background having begun my academic life in the field of Zoology. I completed a PhD in Zoology from Trinity College, Dublin in 2006, where my work focussed on the nutrition and behaviour of large captive herbivores and in particular zebra.
In 2004 I joined Sparsholt College, Hampshire as a lecturer in the Equine Studies section and worked my way up to Head of Department for Animal Management Higher Education. This career path however, took me away from hands on research and, after working for Sparsholt College for 7 years, I realised that I needed a change of direction. With that in mind I undertook an MSc in Forensic Anthropology at the University of Lincoln, reigniting my passion for research. I also hold degrees in Equine Studies and Herbal Medicine.
As a result I have extensive experience in a wide range of research both quantitative and qualitative ranging from novel animal behaviour studies to in-depth systematic reviews. My research interests lie within the areas of ethics and human rights.” The NEAT project is CaHRU’s first Wellcome Trust grant, led by Prof Siriwardena in collaboration with Dr Adele Langlois from the School of Social and Political Sciences.
Professor Niro Siriwardena from CaHRU and Dr Adele Langlois from the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lincoln have been awarded a seed award in humanities and social science from the Wellcome Trust to develop a Network exploring the Ethics of Ambulance Trials (NEAT). Dr Langlois is a social scientist who is an expert in biomedical ethics and governance. The network also includes leading prehospital researchers: Profs Philip Bath (Nottingham University), Jonathan Benger (University of West of England), Gavin Perkins (Warwick), Tom Quinn (University of Surrey), Helen Snooks (Swansea University) and Drs Chris Price (Newcastle University) and Sarah Voss (University of West of England).
Randomised controlled trials in ambulance settings are a relatively recent but growing area of research which poses particular challenges, including urgency of conditions and treatment, and difficulties with recruitment, randomisation and informed consent where time may be limited or patient capacity impaired. NEAT will involve interviews with researchers, health professionals and patients involved in ambulance trials together with the legal and systematic reviews and networking activities bringing together national experts in the ethical issues and design of prehospital clinical trials.
The team seek to raise awareness among researchers, practitioners, ethics committees and the public of developments in the ethics and conduct of ambulance trials and provide the basis for much needed research to inform recommendations for best ethical practice in future trials. Prof Siriwardena and Dr Langlois are currently recruiting a research assistant to join them to work on the study in 2016.