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CLAHRC West report on health priorities for the West

25 September 2014

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) West's new report focuses on the West of England population's health and wellbeing, by looking at the priorities of the health bodies in the region.

An innovative collaboration, funded by NIHR, CLAHRC West brings together highly experienced health researchers and front-line NHS staff to work with partners in local government, industry, and the voluntary sector and particularly with patients and the public to carry out research focused on the health priorities of the West. The partnership will also support the NHS in establishing the most efficient and effective ways of turning evidence into benefits for patient care and public health.

NIHR CLAHRC West covers:

  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Bristol
  • Gloucestershire
  • North Somerset
  • South Gloucestershire
  • Swindon
  • Wiltshire

The report, called 'NIHR CLAHRC West Stakeholder Priorities for Health and Wellbeing has been produced to give a better understanding of the West's population's current health needs and priorities. This will enable CLAHRC West to identify where they need to concentrate our research efforts and help plan new partnerships with a view to bringing about service improvements.

The report findings suggest that health in the West is on average better or similar to the England average. Areas that are consistently better than the England average are Bath, North East Somerset, and Wiltshire. Bristol has the highest levels of poverty and South Gloucestershire the lowest.

Several health priorities were identified:

  • developing strategies aimed at preventing people from becoming ill
  • long term improvement for those already using services
  • providing help and support at home or close to home
  • keeping patients safe
  • effective communication to:
    • enable patients to live independently for as long as possible
    • improve care coordination between GP practices, hospitals and social services
    • sharing patients' electronic health records to make sure care is safe and appropriate
  • improving patient and carer experiences and encouraging values such as dignity and respect
  • exploration of possible partnerships, including partnerships to improve the care for people at the end of life, pregnant women, as well as driving developments in patient information and communication.

Key functions for NIHR CLAHRC West will be to ensure that people and organisations can learn from each other to spread best practice, inform service improvements and provide care that is safe, fair and sustainable.

Dr Sabi Redwood, Senior Research Fellow in Ethnography and Qualitative Social Science at CLAHRC West, and one of the report's authors, said: "We have produced this report to give a better understanding of the region's population's health needs and priorities. This will enable us to identify where we need to concentrate our research efforts. And it will help our partners in the NHS and local authorities to plan new partnerships to deliver better services and better health for people who live in the West."

Read the full report on the CLAHRC West website.

CLAHRC West report on health priorities for the West
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