Research Design Service: East Midlands

Latest News

HTA - spending wisely when managing delays

  Created on Friday, 17 Jan 2020. Posted in Funding

The HTA vlog this month talks about dealing with delays in projects and how to manage funds wisely.

Trials sometimes face delays in start-up due to negotiating contracts, study drugs and placebos manufacture, data linkage agreements or in completing the feasibility stages of the project. These delays have a knock on effect for the completion date of trials that require a contract variation for extra time and money. Requests for extra funds however are not easily granted as they are viewed in competition with new funding proposals. Research teams need to make it as attractive as possible to funders to grant extensions. One way to do that is to show that you've been a good guardian of public funds and during the delay period you've built up an underspend which can be off set against the contract variation to complete the project.

Measures to build up an underspend could be suspending payments to those not working on the project during the delay period or redeploying trial staff until they are needed. It's always good to keep the sponsors and HTA secretariat informed about delays and your plans to mitigate costs. Although underspend needs to be returned on an annual basis to comply with the government's annual reconciliation rules the underspend returns will not affect the overall funding envelope agreed with the programme and can be used in the extension period.


Improving PPIE in RfPB research applications

  Created on Friday, 17 Jan 2020. Posted in Design Tips

Doing public involvement in the right way

  • Don’t over-complicate it - use people to get a second opinion, help you, critique your application
  • Ensure PPI activities are not treated merely as a tick box exercise, but have a clear purpose/role in improving the research study
  • Use a range of engagement techniques - focus groups, individual conversations, surveys etc
  • Respect the expertise patients bring - value their time (inc. payment) and give equal voice

Improve plain English summary (PES)

  • Read the INVOLVE and NIHR guidelines about how to write a plain PES
  • Make sure PES explains the research, not just the reason for it
  • PES tend to suffer from the same problems of language, layout, etc
  • Use lay people to write PES. Often if PPI comes from academic profession, the PES remains over complicated despite their help

Description of public involvement in grant applications

  • Weave PPI description throughout the application, if you just put it at the end then reviewers have to piece it all together - make their job easier!
  • Make sure your application ‘fully’ costs PPI involvement
  • Ensure early stage researchers have adequate mentoring and strong co-applicants
  • Use INVOLVE guidelines on how to work out accurate and fair payment for public members involved in the research

Value of PPI to research design

  • Make sure the difference PPI has made to the application is explained
  • Good PPIE makes the research better - it’s not just about giving ‘lip-service’ to a requirement.
  • Get lay person with good communication skills to check Plain English Summary even before initial submission.
  • Don’t use the words ‘we will invite people’ - involve them from the start.
  • Good PPIE doesn’t happen overnight. Demonstrate that you've built those relationships?

Clarity of public co-applicants

  • Ensure application has clear role described if PPI co-applicant present
  • Mandatory use of PPI payment guide from INVOLVE. Only give choice of vouchers if it will affect public members on benefits.

Having the right people involved

  • Ensure PPIE is reflective of the communities you are working with
  • Make sure the application is studying a diverse enough group to be applicable more widely
  • Think about how to balance, including people, the research is intended for with the tasks/skills you need for PPIE
  • One person’s view is not enough - you need to talk to lots of patients
  • Involve relevant members of the community to help identifying the specific terms of the project proposed
  • Beware patient group endorsement - they will always support research into their topic
  • Ensure researchers think about participants belonging to patient groups
  • PPI can help you identify compounding factors that might influence your intervention, e.g. in a randomised study how many people might access intervention (especially when exercise / online support) independently.
  • Ensure participants are involved in dissemination - get them tickets to conferences, etc.

Improving Care by Using Patient Feedback

  Created on Thursday, 16 Jan 2020. Posted in Public Involvement | Literature

This review brings together nine recent NIHR studies looking at how NHS organisations use patient feedback to make improvements to services. Evidence ranges from online ratings to real-time feedback in different settings, from hospital wards to general practice and mental health. 

This research can help health providers to make best use of patient surveys and other data from patients on their care. Studies found that more effort has been spent on collecting data, with less attention to how it can be used to improve services. Findings included the need to integrate patient experience data and activity with other quality improvement work in trusts. Research also shows the importance of positive feedback and how online and unsolicited responses can be used alongside survey data to make a difference.


New RDS Literature Searching Videos - Finding Evidence to Support Your Research Proposal

  Created on Monday, 06 Jan 2020. Posted in Literature

Finding Evidence to Support Your Research Proposal Video Series: 4 short videos which are a mix of powerpoint presentations and some demonstrations with accompanying audio.


ARCEM's six themes

  Created on Monday, 16 Dec 2019. Posted in News Items

On 1 October, CLAHRC East Midlands became Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands. The new funding will allow vital work to take place to tackle the region’s health and care priorities, putting in place more evidenced-based frameworks to drive up standards of care and save time and money. 
ARCEM's work will be in line with the following six themes:


Healthwatch reporting tool allows professionals to search patient experience reports

  Created on Monday, 16 Dec 2019. Posted in Public Involvement | Toolkit/Database

The reports library tool aims to help researchers search thousands of reports produced by local Healthwatch. Curently the tool holds 2,391 Healthwatch publications about health and care services, made up of over 420,000 views

What kind of information can you expect to find?

  • Across the country, Healthwatch speak to people about their experiences of services, and how care could be improved. 
  • From mental health, to care homes, to people's experiences of leaving hospital, a whole host of subjects are covered in the reports library.
  • There's a local Healthwatch in every area of the country and each one focuses on the issues that matter most to the people in their communities.
  • You can also sign up to news alerts for new additions to the tool in your area

State of the nation’s health in 2018 shown in new report

  Created on Monday, 16 Dec 2019. Posted in News Items

The latest figures for the Health Survey for England have been released by NHS Digital, monitoring trends in the nation’s health and featuring new data on gambling, asthma and longstanding conditions.

The Health Survey for England, 2018 surveyed just over 10,000 adults and children to bring together data on conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, adult and child weight, smoking, drinking and physical activity.

Other information available includes figures on fruit and vegetable consumption, social care for older adults and e-cigarette use.

The Health Survey for England is commissioned annually by NHS Digital, the survey is carried out by NatCen Social Research in conjunction with University College London, who co-author the report with NHS Digital.


The Guidebook on Multiple Conditions

  Created on Monday, 16 Dec 2019. Posted in Guidance

The Multiple Condition Guidebook is a collection of case studies and practical solutions to help local areas improve health and wellbeing. 

This work showcases 10 examples of how local areas and frontline professionals across health, social care, the VCS, local government and beyond are responding to the challenge of how to provide better care to the 15 million people in England living with multiple long-term conditions. The intention of these resources is to provide local practitioners with practical insight and to create conversations to bring about change at scale.


HTA update: Multi-morbidity or rather multiple long-term conditions!

  Created on Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019. Posted in Funding

This month's update from HTA addresses who should be included in clinical trials in relation to multi-morbidity.

Multiple long-term conditions are not easy to research as the understanding of disease clustering whether genetic, early risk factors or attributes of age, poverty and geography is still at an early stage, but what we can do is be more vigilant as to who we include in clinical trials. Unless there are very good reasons to exclude people then researchers should strive to include those who are often in the past been excluded from trails such as those with multiple long-term conditions.

It’s recognised that being more inclusive might result in slightly larger sample sizes and data from efficacy studies might not be the best on which to base planned sample size calculations but we need to try and base our clinical trial plans on as much real world NHS data as possible.

Also including lots of different people in clinical trials risks diluting the ability to detect changes, as some groups are less likely to benefit from the intervention or they may have much poorer follow up data, but we must do what we can to achieve a reasonable balance.

HTA will be looking carefully at exclusion criteria in applications. Study populations should be a sensible balance between feasibility, cost and the ability to generalise to the wider NHS population.


New report shows clinical research improves health of UK economy and NHS

  Created on Tuesday, 05 Nov 2019.

The value of clinical research to the NHS, the UK economy and jobs market has been evaluated in a new report, which provides an assessment of the economic impact of the NIHR Clinical Research Network’s (NIHR CRN) activities to support clinical research in England. The report, produced by KPMG and commissioned by the NIHR CRN, covers the financial period 2016/17 to 2018/19 and shows that over this period, clinical research supported by the NIHR CRN generated an estimated £8bn of gross value added (GVA) and 47,467 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs for the UK.