North of England Commissioning Support Unit

Research and Development

Research and Development

Research and development are key in supporting innovation, understanding issues and making evidence based decisions.  We have expertise and experience to help you deliver improved outcomes, working in collaboration with the National Institute of Health Research and local research networks.

We can provide:

  • Advice on research projects in primary care
  • Feasibility of research projects
  • Research governance advice for primary care

“Our team gives a comprehensive service, supporting a range of R&D activities to make sure that the best research and evidence is available and can be used in the most appropriate way to support commissioning.”

– Shona Haining, Senior Research & Development Manager

Our current projects are listed here.

Our Research and Evidence Bulletins are available at the links below:

More information about Research and Development
Please click here for more information about research and development.


Related Information

North East Vanguards Evaluation

Attitudes, perceptions and behaviours associated with Hospital Admission Avoidance in the Frail and Elderly (HAAFE study)
In August 2017, a University of Sunderland research team (Professor Scott Wilkes, Principle Investigator) and Dr Rosie Dew, Co-applicant) published their report into the HAAFE Study.  This study was funded and supported by NHS Northumberland CCG.

Below is the full and final report and a summation of the findings:
2017 08 – HAAFE Final Report
HAAFE Report Summary

Northern Centre for Mood Disorders
Northern Centre for Mood Disorders – Improving the Clinical Care of Patients Through Research

Health Pathways in South Tyneside

Published in July 2017, this is the evaluation of the implementation of Health Pathways (HP) within South Tyneside. HP is an online repository of care pathways developed in New Zealand to support decision making and patient care. The system is not currently integrated with the current clinical records system EMIS Health, used by practitioners in South Tyneside, but this functionality is currently in development and the pilot testing is expected in January and February 2018.

Health Pathways Report Overview
Health Pathways Report


Advancing Innovation with Managers in the NHS organisational environment (AIMING) project
This report covers the findings of research on ‘share and spread’ of new care models (NCMs) innovations within the North East of England, and in particular the role of ‘middle managers’ in the adoption and/or blocking of innovation with the view of understanding the wider innovation environment for health and social care in the region.

AIM Report December 2017
AIM Final Report Summation


NIHR Report – published 16th January 2018 – What Works to Support Residents’ Health in Care Homes – and why

More than 400,000 older people live in 19,000 independently owned UK care homes, with the majority aged over 85 years. Care home residents’ multiple long-term health conditions often include dementia and mobility problems.  Yet care home residents’ receipt of health services does not match this level of need. Only around 45% of 81 care homes inspected by the Care Quality Commission reported scheduled GP visits. An analysis of 2011-12 hospital administrative data estimated that residents experienced half as many outpatient appointments as did their age group as a whole.

Long-term relationships and joint working between community health practitioners and care homes are the keys to improving appropriate hospital admissions and access to medications. Additional payments for GPs, jointly agreed protocols, clear role specifications and structured systems have impact only if they trigger and sustain collaborative working.

The NIHR-funded OPTIMAL study aimed to understand which NHS and care home activities in three service delivery models improved healthcare outcomes for older residents, and how improvement occurred, for whom and in which contexts. This methodological approach is in contrast to evaluations assessing the overall effectiveness of delivery models.

The researchers report that care home residents use a wide range of external NHS services including GPs. They point out that before their research primary care provision in care homes was thought to be inadequate compared with that received by older people in the community. This could potentially worsen the impacts of multiple health conditions on residents’ quality of life.

The findings support efforts at integration set out in the NHS Framework for enhanced health in care homes in England. Training is needed for care home staff and NHS practitioners in the areas of dementia and medicines management, and can be applied to the design of services elsewhere.

The link to the full report and opportunity to feedback/comment can be seen below:


Improving Self-Management Support and Planning in COPD in a CCG in the North East of England
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an irreversible condition characterised by dyspnoea, sputum purulence, and persistent coughing as a consequence of airway inflammation. Patients with COPD have an average of three acute exacerbations a year and these exacerbations are the second biggest cause of unplanned hospital admissions in the UK. Improving health-related quality of life and reducing hospital admissions are key priorities in COPD management.  

Effective self-management is where patients are able to monitor symptoms better when they are stable and take appropriate action when symptoms worsen. Self-management planning with patients is a recognised quality standard of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines for patients with COPD. However the ideal format and content of self-management interventions is currently unclear.

Research objectives were:

  1. To summarise the current evidence-base on:
  • the effectiveness of self-management interventions in improving health-related quality of life and reducing unnecessary emergency attendances and hospital admissions in people with COPD.
  • barriers and facilitators to effective self-management planning in patients with COPD
  1. To explore perspectives of patients and practitioners on factors that hinder and facilitate effective self-management planning in primary care.
  2. To co-develop an intervention, with practitioners and patients, that promotes effective self-management planning.
  3. To assess the feasibility and acceptability of the prototype intervention when delivered in primary care.

The work outlined in the report below was co-produced by the research team and practitioners from Newcastle Gateshead CCG. The starting point was a meeting between the academic lead and a group of CCG stakeholders which aimed to identify the topic deemed most urgent and important regarding local research investment. All the ensuing work was developed and conducted in partnership between the research and practitioners.

Report: Improving Self-Management Support and Planning in COPD


Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health

Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, brings together the five North East Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside in a unique collaboration to deliver robust research to improve health and wellbeing and tackle inequalities. Fuse is one of the five UK Public Health Research Centres of Excellence, it works hand-in-hand with the NHS, local and national government, voluntary and community sectors to help transform public health.

Fuse is one of eight academic centres of public health excellence in England making up the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research (SPHR).

The link below will take you to the FUSE website, which highlights the value of the evaluation work undertaken for the North East Vanguards.

The work was commissioned by the five North East Vanguards, to consider overarching achievements and challenges (in addition to individual, local evaluation).  It was undertaken by a consortium of universities; Newcastle, Durham and Northumbria.

Link to final report:

This work was followed up with an evaluation directly considering the role of middle management in implementing changes – what were the facilitators and barriers presented?  The first phase report has been published:

Work is continuing with a second phase now recruiting.

To discuss this and any other research work taking place, please contact the team –

"I would like to thank you for your help. Your knowledge, enthusiasm and efficiency have made this a very positive experience for us all. We have enjoyed working with you a great deal and hope to be able to collaborate with you again in the future." - Clinical Senior Lecturer, Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine