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Compound pressures

Potential advert date

06 February 2023

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has updated their Areas of Research Interest (ARIs). They focus on areas of strategic policy importance to DHSC. Research and innovation could help make a step change in how we deal with these complex issues and contribute to improving public, patient and service outcomes. Reduction of compound pressures on the NHS and social care has been identified as one of these ARIs.

In early 2023 NIHR will issue a call for research focused on the reduction of compound pressures on the NHS and social care. We recognise the need for further research based evidence to support those who plan, commission and use services across the health, public health and social care sector.

Defining compound pressures

For the purposes of this research call, compound pressures is defined as:

  1. pressures on the health and care system, including
    • additional health care needs in winter
    • during extreme heat events
    • during epidemics or pandemics disease 
  2. the interaction of these with other pressures, including
    • increases in the cost of living
    • disease levels post-COVID
    • the operational pressures faces by the NHS and social care

This call is intended to cover all aspects of translational, clinical, public health and social care research. We expect that research funded from this call call leads to the development and/or evaluation of practical, real-world solutions which demonstrate impact in the short, medium and longer term. The focus should be on delivering improved patient outcomes and reduced pressure across the health and care system. Specifically, the NIHR wants to know what is working for whom, where and why in order to understand how current or new systems/interventions could be developed to support a step change in planning for compound pressures.

Issues of particular importance will include (but are not limited to):

  • evaluating service or system-level interventions for admission avoidance
  • discharge planning and integrated care in the context of compound pressures in the UK
  • evaluating the health impacts of population level interventions (such as fuel payments, warmer homes, vaccination programmes)
  • effective pandemic preparedness which may contribute to reducing pressure on the health system

Participating programmes

We expect the following NIHR programmes to take part in this call for research:

Further details will be available in due course. 


For further information, please email