Government announce £215 million funding for research into range of life-limiting conditions

The Government has announced a £215 million package of funding for research into transforming the lives of millions of people living with a range of conditions, including life-long illnesses, mental health issues and obesity.

It will see leading academics and technology experts able to apply for research funding with the aim of helping to give patients greater independence and choice about how they manage their healthcare.

The announcement comes as the NHS enters its 70th anniversary week, with celebrations planned up and down the country.

Services will be held at Westminster Abbey and York Minster to pay tribute to the millions of people who have worked for the health service.

The ceremonies, taking place on the day itself – Thursday July 5 – will be attended by health leaders, staff and health service users.

Other celebrations include events in Manchester, where the first NHS patient was treated, and a series of tea parties across the country to raise money for NHS charities.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “As the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday, more people than ever before are living longer lives thanks to the dedication of hardworking staff.

“It is therefore vital we harness technology to develop the next generation of innovative treatments as part of the Government’s long-term plan for the NHS.

“That’s why I want our world-leading academics, researchers and technology experts to work with frontline staff to develop the innovations which not only allow people to live longer, but also to lead healthier lives, so the NHS can continue to provide world-class care to all.”

The move will also see an extra £3 million invested in the creation of a new research leader programme for nurses and midwives to influence new approaches to health and care and improve patient experience.

Of the overall £215 million package of funding, £150 million will fund research over the next five years to tackle key emerging issues, including the pressures of an ageing population and the increasing demands on the NHS.

Led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), healthcare organisations will be able to apply for funding on behalf of a collaboration of health and care providers, commissioners, local authorities, universities, private companies, charities, and academics, who will work together to address a specific health or care issue.

NHS England said the extra funding follows a number of successful projects in the past, such as the introduction of tranexamic acid across all ambulance services in England to reduce bleeding in trauma patients – saving an estimated 400 lives a year.

The remaining £65 million will go towards 13 NIHR units that will play a vital role in making sure the Government and arms-length bodies have the best possible information and evidence available when making policy decisions about health and social care.

These will cover a range of specialisms and conditions, including behavioural science, adult social care, older people and frailty, cancer awareness, screening and early diagnosis.

Professor Chris Whitty, head of research and development at the Department of Health and Social Care and the NIHR, said: “Patients and the public deserve a healthcare system that is informed by the latest research and evidence.

“The NIHR is making a significant investment in tackling the challenges facing our healthcare system and equipping it for the future.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Clara Molden / PA Wire.