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£124m funding to tackle major health challenges

Health researchers from across the country have been given £124m from the Government to tackle the nation’s most pressing health problems.

Health Minister, Lord Howe has today announced how this significant investment from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) will help make sure patients benefit from innovative new treatments and techniques which could revolutionise future health care. It is hoped the financial boost will also help stimulate the research economy and attract more research funding in the future.

Researchers from 13 pioneering research teams across the country will start work now and spend the next five years working on their ground-breaking projects.

The money will be invested in health research which includes work to reduce the risk of dementia through exercise as well as strategies to improve the nutrition and health of those who have already been diagnosed.

Long terms conditions is another key area. Teams will be exploring ways to improve the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; others will be looking at better aftercare for stroke patients and work will also be underway to prevent at risk groups from developing diabetes.

Some of the projects also aim to reduce pressures on A&E and include trying to cut down admissions in children under five and people with long term conditions.

Lord Howe, Health Minister said:

This is great news for patients – this funding could potentially help the development of ground breaking treatments which could revolutionise care. With a growing elderly population, the need for innovative and effective solutions has never been more important.

We want the UK to lead the world in terms of health research and this announcement underlines that commitment.

It is vital that we invest in health research, not only to create the opportunities for health research to grow – but also to help our economy thrive so we can compete in the global race.

Researchers from right across the country were invited to bid for the funding, which has been provided by the Department of Health, to address long term conditions and public health challenges.

Their brief was that their project should make a real impact on the lives of NHS patients. This could be either through revolutionary new treatments to tackle the biggest killer diseases, or solutions to improve the lives of patients by transforming their care. Each successful team, now known as NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs), is working on a number of different projects.

Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Health, said:

I’m delighted we have today announced the successful schemes and I’m very much looking forward to hearing updates on how patients will benefit from this research.

The teams are following a strong tradition of success as the National Institute for Health Research has a proven record track record of world-class health research in the NHS.

Supporting our leading researchers is so important and these NIHR CLAHRCs will link the NHS, universities, and other relevant organisations providing care for patients in what will be ground-breaking work to improve the lives of thousands of patients across the country.

The researchers within the new CLAHRCs will also work closely with industry, such as pharmaceutical companies, software companies and medical device manufacturers as they look for ground breaking ways to improve patient care.