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24/18 Broad call for studies evaluating the clinical and cost-effectiveness of fundamental nursing interventions commissioning brief


Published: 22 March 2024

Version: 1.0

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The aim of the HTA Programme is to ensure that high quality research information on the clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests are produced in the most efficient way for those who plan, provide or receive care from NHS and social care services. The commissioned workstream invites applications in response to calls for research on specific questions which have been identified and prioritised for their importance to the NHS, patients and social care.

This is a brief of broader scope from which the programme is interested in potentially funding more than one proposal.

The HTA programme funds research when evidence already exists to show that an intervention can be effective, and this needs to be compared to the current standard intervention to see which one works best. The Programme funds research about the clinical and cost-effectiveness, and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests, for those who plan, provide or receive care from NHS, and social care services.

More information is available on the HTA programme remit, and whether an intervention is HTA ready. Applicants are strongly encouraged to speak to the HTA programme to ensure their application meets the requirements of this commissioned call and the remit of the HTA programme.

Evaluating the clinical and cost-effectiveness of fundamental nursing interventions

The HTA programme are interested in proposals for studies that evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of fundamental nursing interventions. We are looking for proposals from nurses working across the life course and from a range of settings and sectors, including new organisational systems and those working across multiple sectors.

For the purpose of this call, a fundamental nursing intervention is a healthcare intervention or technology that is typically managed and/or delivered mainly by nurses, either alone or in close collaboration with other healthcare professionals. The international learning collaboration framework describes fundamental care as the actions taken by nurses to meet the physical and emotional needs of patients and service users.

This is likely to include, but not be limited to, interventions or technologies in the following areas:

  • Infection prevention and control
  • Falls prevention
  • Mental Health
  • Psychosocial needs including communication, privacy and dignity
  • Nutrition/hydration
  • Health promotion, health screening and health check ups
  • Chronic disease management
  • Wound management
  • Pressure ulcer prevention or care
  • Virtual wards
  • Mobilisation
  • Toileting and Urinary/faecal continence
  • Medication management
  • Administration (for example, handover between services, discharge, shared care)

As the scope of this call is broad, applicants should clearly define and justify their choice of patient/client/service user group, study design, setting and outcome measures. Applicants will need to demonstrate how the research will fit into the remit of the HTA programme. Applicants must clearly outline their intervention and justify how it fits into a ‘fundamental nursing intervention’. Applications led by any healthcare professional or clinical academic with any background are welcome, although the intervention must be nurse-led. Nurses will be expected to be co-applicants for any application.

Examples of recent HTA trials that would be considered in scope for this call include:

  • Sedation and weaning in children (the SANDWICH trial)
  • A randomised controlled trial of no routine gastric residual monitoring to guide enteral feeding in paediatric intensive care units (the GASTRIC-PICU trial)
  • Awake prone positioning in patients with acute hypoxaemic respiratory failure not due to COVID-19: a multi-centre, pragmatic, allocation concealed, individual patient randomised, parallel group, open-label clinical trial (AWAKE-PRONE)
  • The CATHETER II study: Randomised Controlled Trial CompAring THE Clinical And CosT-Effectiveness Of VaRious Washout Policies Versus No Washout Policy In Preventing Catheter Associated Complications In Adults Living With Long-Term Catheters
  • Palliative Long-term Abdominal Drains Versus Repeated Drainage in Untreatable Ascites Due to Advanced Cirrhosis: A Randomised Controlled Trial (REDUCe 2 Study)
  • Dietary Approaches to the Management Of type 2 Diabetes (DIAMOND) cluster randomised trial


Nurses are the most common health professional employed in health and social care. They have an extremely wide scope of practice, covering learning disabilities, mental health, and physical health care in adults, children, infants across the acute care, community care, school care, offender health and social care and social care sectors. We are seeking applications from all these disciplines and across all the sectors mentioned.

Fundamental nursing interventions are extremely wide-ranging, but include promoting activities of daily living, pressure area care, infection control, nutritional support/hydration, pain management and health promotion.

However, many nursing care interventions lack a clear evidence base, which may have important resource implications. There is also marked variability across individuals and organisations in how care is planned and delivered.

There is an important need to improve the evidence base that underpins nursing interventions. As such, the HTA programme wishes to commission a broad call in this area and welcomes a range of submissions. Studies must aim to address an effectiveness question which has the potential to have a significant impact on patient care.

Additional information

Applicants should note that CTUs in the following list are ready to support social care research:

  • Bristol Clinical Trials Unit
  • Keele Clinical Trials Unit
  • LSHTM Clinical Trials Unit
  • Norwich Clinical rials Unit
  • Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit
  • Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit
  • Priment Clinical Trials Unit - UCL
  • Sheffield Clinical Trials unit
  • Warwick Clinical Trials Unit

Others may also be willing to help but have not let us know.

Intervention funding

Applicants may find our guidance on securing intervention funding useful.

Making an application

If you would like to apply for this funding opportunity, you can begin your application via the funding opportunity page.

Your application must be submitted online no later than 1pm on the 4 September 2024. Applications will be considered by the HTA Funding Committee at its meeting in November 2024.

Guidance notes and supporting information for HTA Programme applications are available.

Shortlisted Stage 1 applicants will be given eight weeks to submit a Stage 2 application. The Stage 2 application will be considered at the Funding Committee in March 2025.

For commissioned topics, the Programme strongly discourages the practice of the same co-applicant joining more than one competing team, other than in unusual circumstances (for example, a lead from a named charity or a unique national expert in a condition).

For such exceptions, each application needs to state the case as to why the same person is included. The shared co-applicant should not divulge application details between teams, and both teams should acknowledge in their application that they are aware of the situation, and that study details have not been shared.

Should you have any queries please contact