Local Research News

HWHCT Research Newsletters

December 2021: Research newsletter Christmas 2021.pdf [pdf] 4MB

Autumn 2021:  Research quarterly newsletter Autumn 2021.pdf [pdf] 808KB

Summer 2021:  Research quarterly newsletter summer 2021.pdf [pdf] 741KB

Local participation in national research study published 21.12.21

Huge congratulations to Marti van der Linde (Community Paediatric Dietitian Worcestershire North) who, as part of a team, had their work published online in 'Nutrition in Clinical Practise' just before Christmas. This was a commercial study run by Nestle and looked to 'Monitor gastrointestinal tolerance in children who have switched to an “enteral formula with food-derived ingredients”: A national, multicenter retrospective chart review (RICIMIX study).'

To read the article and outcomes in full please click here

Evidence Based Practice (EBP) Conference: 16-18 November 2021

Our inaugural research/EBP virtual conference was a huge success! We had 41 people attend at least 1 of the sessions and the feedback so far has been great. Huge HUGE thanks to everyone that attended and to our wonderful presenters without whom this event wouldn’t have taken place:

  • Simon Meadows (Clinical Lead Physiotherapist)
  • Simone van Dalen (Physiotherapy Team Leader)
  • Clare McFadyen (OT at New Haven)
  • Rosie Callaghan (Tissue Viability Lead Nurse)
  • Martha van der Linde (Community Paediatric Dietitian)
  • Chrissy Walker (OT Neighbourhood Team 1)
  • Alice Turnbull (Service Lead for Paediatric OT and Physiotherapy)
  • Emma Jesic (Specialist Paediatric OT & OT Lead for Neurodevelopment)
  • Nicola Bundy (CAMHS Practitioner)
  • Abigail Matthews (OT in Hereford Neighbourhood Mental Health Service)
  • Dr Kerry Gaskin (Head of Department - Midwifery and CPD; Principal Lecturer in Advanced Clinical Practice,from the University of Worcester)
  • Cliff Lewis (Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner)

Your insightful presentations gave us all food for thought and really demonstrated how staff from all across HWHCT are constantly striving to improve patient care. Thank you.

Promoting health research off-site this Autumn:

It has been so good to get out and about meeting people face to face and talking about health research over the last few months. Those who follow us on twitter (@HWHCT_Research) will have seen we’ve visited Worcester Woods a couple of times, joined other departments at the Health Care Assistant (HCA) conference on 17 September and engaged with students at Worcester University in the Students Union. It has been great to get to talk to members of the general public about health research and how easy it is for anyone to get involved at some level. Join Dementia Research ( and keeping an eye out for our online survey questionnaires are great ways to do this.

We hope to do some more off-site research research promotion in the new year so keep an eye on our twitter page to see where we'll be.

World Alzheimer’s awareness month: September 2021

September is World Alzheimer’s awareness month #WorldAlzMonth which we really wanted to get behind and promote. We asked a number of people who work in Alzheimer's research or with Alzheimer's patients for their viewpoints including key points that they wanted to highlight about the disease: why taking part in research is so important, what does Alzheimer’s research do, and how to get involved. A huge thank you to our contributors: Mella McCarthy (HWHCT), Nathan Stephens (Uni of Worcester), Jackie Smart (Research Facilitator, NIHR Clinical Research Network) and Julia Ravey (Alzheimer’s Society). Plus those who took part in Join Dementia Research (JDR) #passiton campaign by willingly(!) having their photo taken to be shared on twitter. Make sure you follow us on twitter @HWHCT_Research to find out more!

And don’t forget that one of the easiest ways to get involved in Alzheimer’s research is by signing up to Join Dementia Research (JDR) - an online service that connects registered volunteers with dementia researchers across the UK who are looking for people to join their studies. Healthy volunteers are needed too so ANYONE can sign up – go for it!

Study updates

Psychological Impact of COVID-19 - intial results from phase 1 of the study (December 2021)

The Psychological Impact of COVID-19 (phase 1) looked at the psychological impact of the first lockdown, the relaxation of lockdown rules and the compulsory face coverings period. These inital results show the varying impacts of each of the above listed periods on different population sub groups - including gender, age, ethnicity and professional groups. Please click here to read the full article.

HUGE thanks to everyone who took part.

COPE-WM: Initial findings from this study were released 19.11.21

COPE-WM was a far reaching questionnaire study available to anyone who worked in healthcare. It closed at the end of September 2021.

The study released their initial findings on 19.11.21 which included:

  • Unsurprisingly those healthcare employees who had a positive COVID-19 test result were more likely to provide direct care to patients with COVID-19
  • There was poor infection control at the beginning of the pandemic but effective infection control measures were implemented after this initial period
  • Experience of working during the pandemic:
    • Demand as outstripping capacity
    • Peer support at work was as important as ever
    • Morally challenging decisions in the workplace
    • Mixed re-deployment experiences
  • Impact on mental health:
    • Mental health deterioration experienced during the pandemic
    • Uncertainty during the pandemic
    • Mental health coping mechanisms disabled
    • Working from home as problematic for mental health
    • Positive antibody rates:
    • Prior to vaccination 46% of participants had had a COVID infection (included study participants who had answered ‘yes’ as being symptomatic who then qualified to receive an antibody test kit)
    • From December 2020 rates of antibody positivity rise dramatically following the 1st and 2nd dose of vaccination to 98+%
  • A study coming in the new year – COCO – will further look into the issues raised here

They have only released preliminary findings including the above so we will share the full report once it’s released.

We’ve also received a request from the study regarding the follow up survey:

‘Thank you to everyone that took the time to complete the COPE-WM study baseline survey. If you completed the baseline survey and this was more than 4 months ago you should have received an email asking you to complete the follow up survey for the study. The email was sent to the email address you provided when asked for your personal email address when you completed the baseline survey. Thank you to everyone who has already completed their follow up survey.

Please be aware that for some participants the COPE-WM study emails have been filtered to their spam/junk folder – please check there if you think you should have received an email

If, however, you received a request email but have not yet completed the survey we would encourage you to do so to ensure your follow up data contributes to the study outcomes. Survey completion should take no more than 20 minutes of your time.

If you took part in the study more than 4 months ago and either have not received an email request to complete the follow up survey or remember receiving one but are no longer able to access it and would like to complete the survey please contact the study research team by email: .

If you took part less than 4 months ago please keep an eye out for the email about the follow up that you should receive in the next few weeks. 

The higher the number of participants who complete their follow up survey the better the study will be able to understand the impact of COVID-19 on people working in healthcare settings.’

THANK YOU once again to everyone who took part in this study.

iMCSP (individualised Meeting Centres Support Programme) – initial findings

We were involved in this research study a few years ago so please click below for the results: CIA_A_212852 1527..1553 ( Thank you to those who were involved.

SYMBAD trial results - October 2021

HWHCT took part in this trial so we were really pleased to receive these results at the end of October 2021. The main results have been published in the Lancet: but please see below for the summary outcomes:

‘In summary we found that there was no benefit in taking mirtazapine compared with placebo, there was even the possibility of harm with a marginally higher rate of mortality in the mirtazapine group. The clear conclusion from the data is that they do not support the use of mirtazapine as a treatment for agitation in dementia. Positively there was clear recovery in those that participated in both the placebo and the mirtazapine group. This means that the best thing to do clinically may be to actively monitor agitation while carrying out treatment as usual, rather than jumping to use another medication in all but the most serious of cases.

This is a result that has important implications to clinical practice, and we hope that you will join with us in disseminating the findings as widely as possible. There has been a press release: Research news - Common antidepressant should no longer be used to treat people with dementia - University of Exeter by the University of Plymouth and the team would be happy to work with your local institutions and Trusts should you wish to provide further public information. Alzheimer’s Research UK has also published an article: Antidepressant drug doesn’t improve agitation in dementia trial - Alzheimer's Research UK (

HUGE thanks to everyone who was involved in this study at HWHCT.

PrEP Impact Trial – A pragmatic health technology assessment and implementation.

PrEP (HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a medicine for HIV negative people and it can reduce the risk of catching HIV when taken as instructed. However this is currently not available through the NHS.

PrEP is made up of two drugs, Tenofovir and Emtricitabine. Both these drugs have been widely used for many years to treat HIV and the drug has been used by several thousands of HIV negative people worldwide to reduce the risk of HIV.

To plan a PrEP programme in England, NHS England and Local Authorities carried out research to find out:

  • How many people attending sexual health clinics need PrEP?
  • How many of these start PrEP?
  • How long do they need PrEP for?

In this Trust the study ran across the 3 Sexual Health Services; Arrowside, John Anthony Centre and Hereford and 64 patients were recruited. All participants in this study had access to PrEP.

This study has now closed but we will share the outcomes when they are published later this year. A huge thank you to everyone who was involved.

National Research news

Professional Training and Qualification updates

NHS Research and Development Forum newsletters

Update: 22.12.21

Professional Development Bulletin - Courses available in January 2022



CRN (Clinical Research Network) Connect newsletters

Monday 10 January 2022

Monday 20 December 2021

Monday 13 December 2021

Monday 6 December 2021

CRN (Clinical Research Network) Network Update

Friday 7 January 2022

Friday 17 December 2021 

Friday 26 November 2021

Friday 12 November 2021

Research Design Service West Midlands (RDS WM) Newsletter

Thursday 22 December 2021:  Latest NIHR funding calls and other opportunities_22.12.21.pdf [pdf] 293KB

Friday 17 December 2021: Latest NIHR funding calls and other opportunities_17.12.21.pdf [pdf] 482KB

Associate Principle Investigator Scheme

The Associate PI Scheme is a six month in-work training opportunity, providing practical experience for healthcare professionals starting their research career.

People who would not normally have the opportunity to take part in clinical research in their day to day role have the chance to experience what it means to work on and deliver a NIHR portfolio trial under the mentorship of an enthusiastic Local PI. Click here for further information.

Research Seminars: organised by University of Worcester

Organised by the College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences at University of Worcester, there is a fantastic schedule of free talks running through to March 2022. For further information about the programme and to book onto a seminar please contact for further details.

Essential Guide to Grant Applications online masterclass: 15-17 February 2022

The NIHR Research Design Service is running a 3 day online masterclass (15-17 February 2022) on how to write a grant application that is strong from a methodological point of view, reads well and presents a convincing case for funding. Please click here for further information. 

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis virtual course: 24-26 Jan 2022

The Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford is running the above course with the Course Director expert being Professor Andrea Cipriani, who will lecture alongside various colleagues from the Department.

The course is open to all, but it is specifically designed for psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health professionals, mental health pharmacists and neuroscientists with an interest in evidence synthesis and evidence-based practice. We strive to produce interactive, informative sessions that deliver the most up-to-date knowledge and methods from the field of systematic reviews and evidence synthesis. The virtual course is applicable and potentially most useful to students, PhD students, clinical staff or researchers and more, basically anyone with a burgeoning interest in evidence synthesis and evidence-based practice.

For full information please click here.

The NIHR Doctoral Fellowship (round 7) is now open (closes 18.1.22):

The NIHR Doctoral Fellowship funds individuals from a range of health and social care professions to undertake a PhD in an area of NIHR research.

The Fellowship funds:

  • full salary support, including protected time to concentrate on research
  • PhD fees and research costs
  • a bespoke training and development programme to meet individual needs

Applicants from clinical or social care practice are able to include up to 20% clinical time as part of the Fellowship, to ensure the maintenance of their clinical competence whilst undertaking the Fellowship. Full details can be found here.

Digital Trial Engagement (DTE)

The NIHR is currently developing extended functionality for the Be Part of Research website which is planned to be available in Public Beta for research studies and participants to use from early 2022. The DTE functionality will provide an opt-in service for those studies on the CRN Portfolio and studies that are NIHR funded. The aims of the service are to:

•   Engage research participants throughout their involvement in a study, keeping them informed about the study progress overall, their individual actions, updating them on the outcome of the study and thanking them for their participation. This will be done via an online account with researcher and participant facing interfaces, which will enable the study team to send notifications and information to participants.

•   Extend the current user journey on BPOR to enable members of the public to create an account, register basic demographic information and select conditions/areas of research that they would be interested in taking part in. They will receive alerts when a study they may be interested in taking part in signs up to use the DTE service, the potential participant will decide whether to self-refer to a study. Each study will have the opportunity to create a specific pre-screening questionnaire to ensure only those people who are suitable are able to self-refer.

The anticipated benefits of the service are to provide a clear self-referral journal to enable potential participants to volunteer to take part in studies and improve participant experience when taking part in research.

For researchers and study teams, this aims to provide:

•            Accelerated recruitment from a pre-screened pool of potential participants

•            Increased retention of participants due to improved communication during the study

•            Increased protocol compliance by enabling participants to be better informed in real-time about the study requirements

•            Reduced administration burden

We want to engage with as many researchers as possible in the coming weeks and undertake user research with them to ensure that the service is designed for their needs. We will also want studies to take part in the private beta version from December onwards. If you or other colleagues would like to be involved in this user research or in the early study participation for the service, please email to discuss further.

NIHR's Your Path in Research campaign

The National Institute for Health Research launched its annual ‘Your path in Research’ campaign on 4 October 2021. The campaign aims to encourage health and care professionals to take the first or next step in their research career and build awareness about research and its benefits.

For further information about how you can get involved please follow this link NIHR's Your Path in Research campaign and as always please drop us a line at

The Accelerator Programme opened on 29.9.21 for the next round of applications

For further information please go to:

National Research News

Focus on Wales: Panoramic study: use of antivirals in the community to treat COVID (13.1.22)

Panoramic is a UK-wide clinical study sponsored by the University of Oxford and funded by the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research). It's aim is to find out in which people new anti-viral treatments for COVID-19 in the community reduce the need for hospital admission and get better sooner.

Anyone over the age of 50 and people aged 18-49 with an underlying health condition, who has had a positive is eligible to apply (regardless of vaccination status). Please click here for further information.

NIHR (National Institute for Health Research): Infection from common colds can help protect against COVID (10.1.22)

People who have already been infected by some common cold viruses are less likely to get COVID, according to new results from a study funded by the NIHR.

Some common colds are caused by coronaviruses, and the immune system learns to recognise them with the help of immune cells known as T cells. The new research, published in Nature Communications, shows that people with higher levels of these coronavirus-specific T cells were less likely to become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID.

The study started in September 2020 when most people in the UK had no immunity against COVID. It included 52 people who lived with someone who had been diagnosed with COVID. The participants did PCR tests at the outset and 4 and 7 days later, to determine if they developed an infection - half of them developed COVID and half did not.

Researchers from the NIHR Health Protection Unit in Respiratory Infections analysed blood samples from the 52 participants to measure the levels of pre-existing T cells from previous common cold coronavirus infections that could also recognise COVID.

The researchers found that people who didn’t develop COVID had significantly higher levels of these T cells, compared to the people who did become infected. The T cells targeted internal proteins within the COVID virus, rather than the spike protein on the surface of the virus, to protect against infection.

The researchers hope their findings could provide a blueprint for a second-generation, universal vaccine that could prevent infection from current and future COVID variants, including Omicron.

This is because the proteins that the T cells can recognise within the virus are less likely to change over time compared to the spike protein that is targeted by existing vaccines.

Read more at:

Making research matter: Chief Nursing Officer for England’s strategic plan for research (22.11.21)

In this strategic plan for research England’s Chief Nursing Officer, Ruth May, sets out a policy framework for developing and investing in research activity across the NHS in partnership with others. She says:

‘Research led by nurses and contributions they make as members of multidisciplinary research teams can drive change. It is the cornerstone of high-quality, evidence-based nursing. I am a strong advocate for nurse-led research across health and social care, environments which embrace evidence-based practice, and establishing mechanisms to enhance research capacity across the profession.’

This strategic plan for research sets out a policy framework for developing and investing in research activity across the NHS in partnership with others. At its heart is the shared ambition to create a people-centred research environment that empowers nurses to lead, participate in and deliver research, where research is fully embedded in practice and professional decision-making, for public benefit.’

Links to the whole document along with a shorter summary document can be found here.

High numbers of research participants believe their contribution is valued by researchers

Results from the 2020/21 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES) show that 93% of participants felt the contribution they made to research through taking part was valued by the researchers and study teams. 

With the support of all 15 local CRNs and their partner organisations across England 20,749 adult research participants who had taken part in NIHR supported research, completed the first nationally standardised survey between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.  

The PRES survey is conducted annually by the NIHR CRN and provides an opportunity for research participants to share their experience of taking part in research. It considers all aspects of the participant’s research journey; from information participants receive before taking part in the study; to the way in which they are treated and communicated with during the study period; to the dissemination of results.

Survey respondents highlighted the professionalism, knowledge and friendliness of the research teams as contributing to their positive experiences of taking part in research with 98% of respondents saying they felt they were treated with courtesy and respect; and 94% of respondents said they would consider taking part in research again.

96% of respondents felt they received adequate information about the trial or study before they took part, which is a crucial role of the research team as part of the informed consent process.  Additionally, 96% of respondents said they had been kept updated throughout the study period pointing to good levels of communication between the research teams and participants.

Laurie Oliva, Head of Public Engagement at NIHR Clinical Research Network said: 

“We are delighted to see the hugely positive results generated from PRES this year. 2020/21 was an extraordinary year for the NHS and the integrated research system with unprecedented pressures being felt across the whole of the system. NHS research teams were delivering priority research studies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside essential, critical care for patients and they continued to do so with professionalism, diligence and care."