A new £9m initiative to improve health and social care research is being launched today (11 July 2019) by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The £9m has been awarded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to establish an Applied Research Collaboration in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The funding will be made available over five years from the NIHR and will be boosted by an additional £5m investment from local NHS trusts, local authorities and universities.

The Kent, Surrey and Sussex Applied Research Collaboration (ARCKSS) will bring together NHS Trusts, local authorities, universities, communities and other partners to support the development of innovative research to improve health and social care for patients and families in the south east. The collaboration, which will be coordinated by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is designed to ensure the learning from research is used more quickly and systematically to improve patient care.

The collaboration will help address particular challenges in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, including:

  • Many of our coastal towns which are amongst the most socially deprived areas in England, with high unemployment and high levels of health and social care need
  • Higher than average children in care, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and young people with self-harm and emotional problems
  • A growing older population with the highest concentration of people with dementia in the UK.

We will work to improve research in areas such as social care, the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents, supporting people with dementia – particularly those with other health and social care needs as well, and working to improve primary and community services across the region.

“This exciting partnership will help us develop research knowledge that we can use to improve care and treatment for the patients, families and local communities we serve. Working together and sharing our expertise across the NHS, local government and university sector helps us deliver high quality health and social care for people affected by mental health problems and conditions such as dementia.” Sam Allen, CEO, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

“Having an ARC in Kent, Surrey and Sussex is a hugely exciting opportunity for us to build stronger research collaborations across the region that will focus specifically on improving patient care and clinical outcomes. The ARC is great for the organisations involved and great for patients, carers and families. This is exactly the recognition we need in Kent, Surrey and Sussex to further strengthen and develop our research programme. The ARC has strong leadership and also representation at Board level from people who use services to ensure we make the most of this wonderful opportunity.” Dr Rick Fraser, Chief Medical Officer, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

“This investment by NIHR to support research in Kent, Surrey and Sussex is recognition of the increasing quality of the health and social care research undertaken in the region in our NHS, universities and with local authorities. We welcome these much needed resources to strengthen our research capacity to improve services and outcomes for people living in the region.

“As Director, I am delighted to work with researchers from across our partner health and social care organisations and universities to develop much needed research to help improve services and train the next generation of health and social care researchers.” Professor Stephen Peckham ARC Director, Centre for Health Services, University of Kent.

“I am delighted that Kent, Surrey and Sussex is going to benefit from the development of a local ARC. I am proud that the strong regional academic expertise will be applied to our local population health needs and that as a region we are able to demonstrate partnership between our academic community and our healthcare providers to deliver research. This venture can only make us stronger as a region and contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of our people.” Dr Kate Jones, Chief Operating Officer, NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

“I welcome the award of NIHR funding for a new ARC for Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The success in gaining one of these prestigious national awards is recognition of the close collaboration between this university and NHS organisations, local authorities and universities across this region. I am delighted that Professor Stephen Peckham, Director of our Centre for Health Services Studies, will be director of the new consortium and welcome our working partnership with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, as lead organisations within this new venture.” Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Kent.
“As the population grows and demand on the NHS increases, it is paramount we develop the next generation of technologies and improve the way we work to ensure the NHS continues to offer world-leading care.

“The UK has a proud history of cutting edge health research and by supporting the great minds in health and social care, this funding has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare and revolutionise the way patients access treatments in the future.” Nicola Blackwood, Health Minister

The Applied Research Collaboration in Kent, Surrey and Sussex comes into force in October 2019.

Notes to editors:

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:

  • Funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
  • Engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality, and impact of research
  • Attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
  • Invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
  • Partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy.

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low and middle income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides NHS care and treatment for people living in Brighton and Hove, East and West Sussex, and Hampshire.

Our services in Sussex care for people with mental health problems and learning disabilities. We provide children and young people’s mental health services in in Hampshire and Sussex. We also provide a range of specialist services across south east England. We provide services in places including hospital (we have about 650 inpatients beds), people’s homes, community centres, GP practices and prison services.

We are one of the few mental health organisations to have been granted university status by the Association of UK University Hospitals. This recognises our achievements in bringing research, teaching and clinical care more closely together for the benefit of patients. We have been rated one of the most research active NHS mental health trusts in the UK, in the annual league table produced by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The Kent, Surrey and Sussex Applied Research Collaboration (ARCKSS) is a collaboration between the following organisations:

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust,
Central Surrey Health (CSH Surrey), ic24 (Integrated Care 24), Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust,
Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network, National Social Marketing Centre, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, University of Sussex, University of Brighton, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Chichester, University of Kent, Canterbury Christchurch University, University of Surrey, University of Greenwich, Brighton & Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council, West Sussex County Council, Kent County Council, Kent Fire and Rescue.

To enquire about the ARCKSS please contact Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which is leading this collaboration: victoria.hare@sussexpartnership.nhs.uk or 0300 304 0088.

For more information call the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust press office on 0300 304 0664 or email communications@sussexpartnership.nhs.uk