A new initiative, aimed at improving the care and services for elderly NHS patients by supporting the better use of data and analytical tools, has received £3.4 million in funding.
The Better Care North Partnership, which has received £1.2 million from Health Data Research (HDR) UK and £2.2 million from the partner institutions, is being led by the University of Liverpool but will benefit patients across the UK.
One of the scheme’s major challenges is addressing the issue of frailty, an area of unmet clinical and social care need that affects 10% of people aged over 65, rising to up to 50% of people aged over 85 years. This accounts for £15 billion of expenditure in the UK and is likely to have a growing impact due to the ageing UK population.
The partnership will initially focus on improving monitoring of residents in care homes to detect deterioration, reducing the burden of use of anticholinergic medicines, and optimising prescribing of antibiotics, reducing the potential for antimicrobial resistance.
Some 15 organisations from across the North are involved in the partnership, including universities in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, as well as major NHS trusts in the region.
It will be co-ordinated by a team of researchers from the University of Liverpool led by Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, the David Weatherall chair of medicine, NHS chair of pharmacogenetics at the University of Liverpool, director of the MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science and Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine.
HDR UK is establishing a separate health data research partnership in the South-West of England, co-ordinated by the University of Bristol.
Both will form part of HDR UK’s network of research sites and hubs, designed to bring together world-class research and innovation expertise, a track record in using health data to derive new knowledge and scientific discovery and enable the responsible use of data to speed up benefits to patients and the population.
Professor Pirmohamed said: “We serve over 16 million people in the North, where the rates of poverty, morbidity, premature mortality and poorer clinical outcomes are higher than in other regions. As our population gets older, frailty and more widely, multimorbidity, exert huge system pressures.
“This partnership will help us to use all available data and advanced analytical techniques to gain actionable insights for optimising delivery of care for those who need it most.”