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£3m centre will tackle key questions of health and social care


A new Yorkshire centre will improve the health and wellbeing of children and the elderly : and the safety of patients in hospitals and clinics.

The Wolfson Centre for Applied Healthcare Research, to be established beside Bradford Royal Infirmary, brings together researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford with clinicians from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It has been made possible thanks to a £1m donation from national charity The Wolfson Foundation, with further contributions from the two Universities and the Trust.

By combining the expertise of health researchers with clinicians who have daily contact with patients, the centre will ensure that its findings are put rapidly into practice – resulting in better health and social care for those who need it most, right here in Yorkshire.

The three areas it will address have been identified as key health priorities for the county:

  • A child’s health is the foundation for their lifelong mental and physical well-being, yet a recent UNICEF report showed the UK lags behind our European neighbours on this important measure. The centre will examine how to reduce inequalities in the health and development of young people, and seek out the early-years interventions which are most effective.
  • As our life expectancy has increased, so has the number of elderly people living with long-term medical conditions, limiting their quality of life and placing a growing burden on health and care services. The Wolfson Centre will develop new models of care for frail elderly patients, those with dementia and those facing debilitating musculoskeletal conditions. It will also work to improve systems of care for the terminally ill.
  • Health data shows huge variations in the standard of care received by patients in hospitals and clinics; a recent survey showed there are almost 12,000 preventable adult deaths a year in England alone. Research in the Centre will develop new methods of care that are safe, patient-centred and that harness the potential of new technologies.

The Wolfson Centre will host a centre for child health including the ground-breaking 'Born in Bradford' and 'Born in Bradford’s Better Start' cohorts. It will also host the Centre for Ageing, one of the UK’s most successful research groups in applied health research for older people, and the National Institute for Health Research’s National Patient Safety Centre.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “The Wolfson Foundation is a national charity awarding funding based on rigorous and independent review. We were very impressed by the high quality of the research that will take place in Bradford. The new Centre will be an excellent example of how universities and an NHS Trust can work together to encourage research which will have a direct practical benefit to patients – in Bradford, across Yorkshire and beyond. We are particularly pleased to be funding in Bradford, and hope that this project will make the city a beacon for outstanding, applied health research.”

Professor John Wright, Director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, said: “This is a groundbreaking partnership. Our new national Wolfson Centre for Applied Healthcare Research will bring together doctors and researchers to work out how we can speed up the translation of research into benefits for patients. Too much medical research lies collecting dust in dry academic journals. Our new Centre will help catalyse cutting-edge science to improve health and well-being of people in our communities.

Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, described it as a “fantastic achievement for our patients, NHS staff, researchers and the region”. He added: “This exciting initiative builds on our decade-long partnership with the Universities of Leeds and Bradford and we warmly welcome the Wolfson Institute into our dynamic research organisation. With this new injection of funding, we will develop a centre of excellence which will deliver high-quality research which translates into meaningful practice and which we hope will result in improving the health and wellbeing of our patients.”

University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said: “This grant will support the University’s open, collaborative and dynamic approach to research delivery. By working with the University of Bradford and the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust, the Centre will put specialist academic groups at the heart of patient care. It will deliver a step change in the quality, volume and impact of world-leading applied healthcare research, and deliver effective and improved care for patients in our region, the UK and globally.”

University of Bradford Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor, said: “I am delighted that the Wolfson Foundation is supporting this important development. The University of Bradford is a world-leading technology university with a proud tradition of research and innovation, making a positive difference to society. Our partnership with the University of Leeds and Bradford Teaching Hospitals will make the Wolfson Centre a national and international exemplar in turning great academic research into better health and care for people in the city and beyond.”

Work on the centre is due to start in the early summer of 2017 and will take around two years to complete.

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