A new collaborative study has been launched by research teams from NHS organisations across Herefordshire and Worcestershire, aiming to increase public engagement and participation in healthcare research. The joint project, which includes Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, Wye Valley NHS Trust, and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, has received funding from Clinical Research Network West Midlands.

The study aims to revolutionise healthcare research participation by bringing it directly to local communities.

The research teams support a diverse range of studies into various physical and mental health conditions, such as COVID-19, anxiety, depression, dementia, complex neurology, dietetics, and musculoskeletal conditions. The success of these studies heavily relies on the involvement of patients and local people sharing their experiences and symptoms.

One of the key initiatives being explored in the project is the feasibility, effectiveness, and benefits of deploying a mobile research unit across the two counties. This vehicle could bring research studies directly to various neighbourhoods, saving participants time and money by eliminating the need to travel to hospitals or NHS clinics.

Sam Topping, Research and Development Manager at Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, commented: “Having a mobile research unit will enable more of our local population to get involved in research and help improve future care and treatments for all patients.”

Preliminary findings suggest that a vehicle shared with other health providers may be a better use of resources. The research teams are currently exploring opportunities with their partners to make this collaborative approach a reality.

Topping added: “Health research has led to the development of many lifesaving vaccines and treatments, only made possible with the continued involvement of patients and members of our communities.”

This mobile research unit initiative is just one of many projects that the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, and Wye Valley NHS Trust are working on together.

The Trust regularly invites local residents to participate in research studies and encourages the public to ask questions and enquire about ongoing research by contacting the Research and Development Team via email at [email protected].