KSS AHSN is pleased to announce the recruitment of four Implementation Leads for the Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) KSS.

Announced in July 2019 by the Department of Health and Social Care, the ARCs support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.

ARC KSS is one of the 15 ARCs across England and a part of a £135m investment by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), the nation’s largest funder of health and care research, to improve the health and care of patients and the public.

The new Implementation Leads are directly employed by KSS AHSN but will be working on ARC KSS’s four core research themes:

  • Living well with Dementia: translating research to better care to help people to live well with dementia – led by Kath Sykes
  • Social Care: person-centred, community-based social care – led by Becky Sharp
  • Primary Care: sustainable and integrated care focusing on people living with chronic conditions and marginalised groups – led by Sam Fraser
  • Starting Well: early detection and intervention of mental health problems in children and young people – led by Becca Randall

Speaking on behalf of the team, Kath Sykes, Living well with Dementia Implementation Lead, said:

‘‘Our primary focus is ensuring the voice of the people accessing or delivering health and social care services are at the heart of ARC research questions and activity.

“Through bringing people together and hearing their stories, we will understand needs, gaps and opportunities, to ensure the ARC research activity addresses the needs of our populations, including hard to reach groups, across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

“Since starting in role, we have had to adapt to the systems needs and challenges in response to COVID-19, and have readjusted our activities and engagement accordingly.

“We are really looking forward to supporting and engaging with our stakeholders and service users, as we all adapt to new ways of working across the system.’’

Des Holden, Medical Director at KSS AHSN and Implementation Lead for the ARC KSS, welcomed the new recruits.

“The Implementation theme leads have settled quickly and productively into their new roles. They are adding value to the research work of the ARC by building their contacts within care communities (clinical, social and local authority, and voluntary sector) and have been absolutely key to the quality of the research questions that have emerged and are being funded in relation to COVID-19,” he said.

“These studies will all produce outputs by the end of the summer and it will then be time for them to bring those results to the communities who need the answers.

“This is the essence of the NIHR ARCs, and what makes it different to other research funding streams which focus most heavily on discovery. Our ARC will be judged on the quality of implementation, and the difference it makes to often very vulnerable people and their ability to flourish. This is what motivates our implementation leads and KSS AHSN, the ARC KSS and our wider community are lucky to have them.”