Find a Health service Study in your area

You can find out more about Health Services Research studies in your area through the UK Clinical Trials Gateway.

Working with the Life Sciences

The NIHR Clinical Research Network Health Services has been enormously successful in integrating clinical research into NHS clinical service provision, and both developing and delivering a large practice changing portfolio of clinical trials.

Read our Health Service Research Specialty Profile to find out more. 

Our Studies

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As the most integrated clinical research system in the world, the NIHR supports research studies through our funding programmes, training and supporting health researchers, and providing world-class research facilities. We also support dialogue between the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all, and facilitate the involvement of patients and the public to make research more effective.

Last year (2017/2018) the NIHR supported 218 studies on health services research. The NIHR supported these studies through our funding programmes and our research schools and units. We also support health services research through our research infrastructure and our training and career development awards for researchers.

Reorganising health services for young people with mental health problems

Young people between 16 and 25 years old have the highest incidence of mental health illness of any age group but the worst access to mental healthcare services. The NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) West Midlands led a study examining how to radically redesign mental health services for young people in Birmingham

CLAHRC West Midlands funded a team to look at 16- to 18-year-olds who either disengage, or become lost, as they transition to adult mental health services, in particular among black and other minority ethnic groups. Working with local service users in Birmingham, the team developed Youthspace: a low-stigma intervention for people between 14 and 25 years old deployed by youth teams and an interactive website.

Early results of the impact of the Youthspace initiative showed its success in reducing the delays young people experienced in waiting for treatment for psychosis – from 285 to 104 days compared with those in a control arm. Based on the West Midland team’s research, Birmingham now offers a mental health service to children, young people and young adults right through to the age of 25.

Read more in the report by RAND ‘The National Institute for Health Research at 10 Years. An impact synthesis: 100 Impact Case Studies


Improving medication management in older people

Half of people aged 75 or more live with two or more long-term conditions. Safe and effective use of multiple medicines to manage these conditions can be a challenge for individuals and for health and social care services.

The MEMORABLE study, funded by the NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme, is seeking to develop a framework to support a multiple discipline and agency approach to help improve medication management in older people. In turn reducing the 5,700 deaths and the 5%-8% of unplanned hospital admissions which are estimated to happen in each year in the UK as a result of medication related adverse events.

Read more in the NIHR Journals Library.


Innovation in clinical research trial design

Traditionally, researchers recruit people to one trial at a time. If another trial gets underway, a completely new population has to be identified and recruited. This makes the recruitment process time consuming and expensive.

The clinical research community is currently exploring the use of an innovative new design called ‘Trials within Cohorts’ (TwiCs), which is aiming to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of clinical research in the NHS. Clare Relton, Senior Research Fellow, and Jon Nichol, Dean of School for Health and Related Research, both at the University of Sheffield, have devised TwiCs as an alternative design for practical trials. The NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester has been using the TwiCs design to recruit to the Comprehensive Longitudinal Assessment of Salford Integrated Care (CLASSIC) study.

Read more in our case study.


Evaluation of the Personal Health Budgets Pilot

Personal health budgets are designed to increase patient choice and control over how their health and care services are delivered. A budget is agreed between the patient and the local clinical commissioning group to support the patient’s healthcare and wellbeing needs.

The programme was launched as a pilot by the Department of Health in 2009, and a national evaluation was commissioned to run alongside it. The evaluation used a controlled study, supported in recruitment by NIHR CRN, to compare the outcomes and costs of patients selected to receive a personal health budget with those continuing with conventional support arrangements (the control group). The findings of this study informed the wider roll-out of personal health budgets in the NHS in 2014.

Read more in our impact case study.