Providing the Evidence to Improve Health & Social Care Services
If you are involved in managing or delivering a health and/or social care service, we can:
- Test what difference a new innovation, a new service design or a new way of working has made to patient/service user outcomes.
- Test whether a change in how you do things has an effect on the level of demand for your service, or a related service (for example, does it increase or decrease pressure on A&E departments or Social Services?).
This can be particularly useful because:
- We can access and link data from across different organisations, and across the traditional divides between primary and secondary care, and between health and social care. This gives us a unique ability to track the effects of service changes, medicines and diseases across the entire health and social care system.
- As an independent research centre, we can test local evidence gathered ‘on the ground’. If our finding match what is believed locally, this can add powerful and independent academic weight to a case for action.
- Our pan-Wales, multi-organisation nature gives us access to a whole range of clinicians, executives, policy officials, academics, service managers and others across both health and social care. We can therefore not only produce robust evidence for you, but can help disseminate the findings to ensure that key decision-makers across Wales are aware of them.
Providing the Evidence to Enable Policymakers to develop better policies
We can also use our research expertise to test whether larger-scale policies have had an impact on the population.
The breadth and depth of data we can access and link, ranging across not only health and social care, but also education, housing, the justice system and elsewhere, means we can test what impact government and other policies have had on many different aspects of people’s wellbeing, not just their health.
We can also research using data that crosses government departments and agencies to answer research questions that affect more than one of them (e.g. exploring the impact of housing conditions on people’s health, or on how well children do at school).
As well as testing the effectiveness of existing policies, we can also test potential improvements to them, or help develop entirely new policies. For example, some of our researchers at Cardiff University have recently been funded to pilot whether the use of activity monitors in the National Exercise Referral Scheme can help participants’ get better results from being part of the scheme.
Increasing the amount of research done in Wales to improve the health and wellbeing of its population
As a new research centre, our first objective is to create a new set of research projects. We are therefore initially focusing on:
- Bringing our researchers and others together to work out what new pieces of research should be done.
- Forming small teams (Research Development Groups) to write bids to research funders for money to carry out this research.
The funds provided by Health and Care Research Wales to create the NCPHWR enables us to not only bring our large group of over 70 researchers together to form new research ideas, but also pays for these researchers to spend time writing these often large and complex funding bids. The key idea behind the NCPHWR is to use the money provided by Health and Care Research Wales to bring in many times more money from elsewhere, particularly from outside Wales.
Since its launch in April 2015, the NCPHWR has:
- Submitted 84 research bids
- Secured 44 new grants worth £11.5 million
If you would like to be involved in helping us create funding bids to start more research projects, please contact us.
We are particularly looking for:
- Researchers who work in areas such as public health, social care, epidemiology, informatics or other related areas, or who research into any of the diseases or other areas we study.
- Clinicians and other healthcare professionals (including data analysts, managers and service improvement staff) who work in services that treat the diseases or other areas that we study, or focus on public health.
- Policymakers who work in any of the areas we cover.
- Informaticians, including health informaticians.
We use Research Development Groups (RDGs) as a mechanism for the development and submission of research proposals. RDGs are groups of researchers and others who get together to create a funding bid to carry out a particular piece of research. Research ideas are registered as RDGs once they have been developed with one of our researchers gone through our registration process (details to follow).
- Is a small working group, registered on the NCPHWR's portfolio, which typically consists of researchers, policy makers and practitioners (but can also include others, such as members of the public).
- Brings key project partners together to focus on designing a new research project and writing a bid to fund it.
- Is usually time limited and focused towards a specific funder and deadline.
4. Increasing Wales’ ability to do more of this research in future
As well as bringing in more money to fund new research, we are also helping to increase the amount of research into population health and wellbeing that can be done in Wales. For example:
- We have recruited eleven early-stage researchers to work on NCPHWR research projects and support the development of new research. We will to support these researchers as they develop, encouraging them to become research leaders in future and potentially grow their own teams around their research specialisms.
- Many of our researchers are involved in research that will make it easier, cheaper and quicker for research to be carried out in Wales. For example, our Health Informatics theme includes a number of research projects designed to allow electronic data to be more effectively linked together by researchers. This will enable our researchers to evaluate healthcare services, test policies, and find causes of diseases more quickly in future, making Wales an ever more attractive place for research funders to invest in.