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NIHR launches research call for compound pressures

As the UK health system comes further and further out of winter and continues to tackle the elective recovery backlog, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has launched a major call for research on compound pressures affecting the NHS and the social care sector.

The NIHR say that compound pressures are an increasingly complex threat to the health and care industry and impact patients, service-users, carers, and the medical workforce alike. Such pressures include the elevated healthcare demands that are experienced every winter and during extreme heatwaves, with things like epidemics, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis only exacerbating these challenges.

So, in a bid to boost the production of research which improves the health service’s ability to combat these aforementioned issues, the NIHR is now calling on researchers to submit proposals that help develop solutions that can enhance patient outcomes and reduce the strain on staff.

The NIHR want applications that will work against the following questions:

  • How can the health sector most effectively collaborate to plan for, react to, and recover from compound pressures?
  • How can the health and care system insulate vulnerable people’s health and circumvent avoidable hospital admissions?
  • How can the NHS accurately diagnose and treat illnesses which cause further burden during the traditionally busy festive period, extreme heat, or infections that are likely to lead to pandemics?
  • What structure should be developed for routine service that enables them to most efficiently continue work during times of increased pressure?
  • How can the health system cut out unnecessary hospital stays, promote smart discharges, and reduce workload?

NIHR Chief Executive, Professor Lucy Chappell, said: “Compound pressures stretch the health and care system in ways that are often difficult to predict and even harder to handle. Good research can produce exactly the sort of innovative, evidence-led solutions that will ease the burden on the system and enable those who plan, commission and deliver services to do so in intelligent and sustainable ways.

“This should help us to provide better care for patients and the public, and improve health outcomes for them. For example, we would like to better understand how we can avoid an unnecessary hospital admission for someone with multiple long-term conditions during winter.

“We host one of the world’s leading health and care research sectors, and we encourage our scientists, researchers, clinicians and public contributors to contribute their expertise and collaborate on this issue of national importance.”

More information on the research call is available here.

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