Priorities for local NHS research revealed

A landmark consultation identifying priorities for local NHS research and innovation in different regional areas in England has published its findings.

The National Survey of Local Innovation and Research Needs of the NHS, commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement, the National Institute for Health Research and the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), presents findings from a survey of local health stakeholders within each of the England’s 15 AHSN regions, to identify the local NHS innovation and research needs.

The project aims to help the AHSNs, research funders and research practitioners ensure their work will address the specific local NHS challenges and address the health and care needs of the local population.

Despite differences in regional priorities in each area, some common themes emerged which reflect the wider challenges facing the NHS and align with the priorities identified in the NHS Long Term Plan.

These included the need for innovation and research around: developing the current and future workforce; delivering mental health services and providing care for patients with mental health issues; and integrating services to provide for patients with complex needs such as – multimorbidities, frailty, and for older people and socially isolated people or communities.

Louise Wood, director of Science, Research and Evidence at the Department of Health and Social Care, said: "This is an important initiative, the results of which will help shape research and innovation of most relevance to patients and the health and care system.

“We are grateful to all interviewees and those who responded to the survey for their insights. We will consider very carefully the role that NIHR, working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, can play to address the key research and innovation priorities identified and consider how we can best support access to, and dissemination of, key research and innovation findings.”

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