The Welsh Government is to invest £4.85m over the next five years on research into primary and emergency care in Wales, which will involve Swansea University.
The funding, through Health and Care Research Wales, will support large-scale, international quality research at Prime Centre Wales, an all-Wales Centre co-led by Swansea, Cardiff and Bangor universities and the University of South Wales.
The Centre has adapted the focus of its research to help tackle the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, including launching projects to:
• Look at the effect of “shielding letters” as a public health intervention, led by Professor Helen Snooks of Swansea University
• Examine the impact of delayed diagnoses of cancer, a project led by Professor Kate Brain, a professor of health psychology from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine
• Fast track the implementation of the CARiAD intervention for home-based palliative care, teaching lay carers to administer injections at home to a dying loved one, led by Professor Clare Wilkinson and Dr Marlise Poolman at Bangor University and Professor Annmarie Nelson and the Marie Curie Research Palliative Care Research Centre at Cardiff University
• Look at the effects of coronavirus on all stages of pregnancy, a project led by Julia Townson of Cardiff University’s Centre for Trials Research
• Analyse public experiences of the pandemic through a UK-wide survey, a joint project between Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University
Other Covid-related projects include advising Welsh Government on the communications strategy for the Covid-19 symptom tracker app and supporting dental services
Helen Snooks, Professor of Health Services Research at Swansea University and Associate Director of PRIME Centre Wales, said:
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue to work with existing and new collaborators in universities, the NHS, social care, Third Sector, patients and the wider public to take forward a programme of research in prehospital, emergency and primary care.
We aim to attract research funding into Wales, and to work with others on internationally leading studies that deliver research evidence that is relevant to the provision of healthcare and that influences policy and practice.”
The funding was awarded as part of a £44m investment from Welsh Government for 2020-25 in health and social care research to improve care and services including cancer, dementia, mental health and children’s wellbeing, among others.
As well as Covid research, the Centre plans to build on three core research areas:
• Value-based primary and emergency healthcare
• Seamless health and social care closer to home
• Reducing health inequality
Professor Adrian Edwards, co-director of the Division of Population Medicine at Cardiff University and director of Prime Centre Wales, said:
“There are great challenges for the NHS, with our ageing population and increasingly complex health and care needs. The Covid-19 pandemic is an acute pressure for all parts of the NHS and social care.
This funding enables us to do research on how to best deliver effective, timely, safe and patient-centred primary and emergency care services for all at this critical time. This is absolutely essential for the overall NHS to provide the best value healthcare that patients need and want.”