Sussex Partnership colleagues thanked for supporting research

3 April 2023

The winners of this year’s Research Support Awards have been announced, and include the Dementia Assessment Service - West Sussex North from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The awards are run by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex to recognise the vital support that NHS colleagues give to R&D departments, research delivery teams, Chief Investigators and Principal Investigators across the region.

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Dr Joanne Zamani, Chief Operating Officer, NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex said:

“The number and quality of nominations this year was incredibly high and included many inspiring stories. These show just how passionate people feel about research, even when it is not part of their core role.

“Deciding on the winners was challenging - with so many high quality nominations from a wide range of disciplines. It is wonderful to see the extraordinary level of commitment people working in health and care show to improving the wellbeing of their communities.

“Many of these colleagues don’t even realise the impact of their contribution and these awards are an opportunity for Kent, Surrey and Sussex researchers to say ‘thank you’.”

Colleagues from across the region who work in research, or have a role in research have been saying thank you to NHS colleagues who have made a difference to the delivery of research.

The Dementia Assessment Service - West Sussex North (DAS WS North) from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was nominated by Natalie Portwine, Clinical Research Team Lead at the Dementia Research Unit, for identifying a large number of eligible and appropriate participants to the recruiting dementia studies. Since June 2021, the team has made over 75 referrals to a study that will help improve MRI services in the future. The team provide patients with very good information and detail around the appropriate studies, so much so, that when the research team makes initial contact, the patients are very familiar and open to research in that first instance. The team is always so friendly and welcoming to research staff, allowing us to join meetings to introduce new studies and give updates on how current studies are running - we could not run the studies without their support.

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Other teams nominated by Sussex Partnership were:

Horsham Assessment and Treatment Service (ATS) - for being supportive of the STAR study (Study of Trauma And Recovery), which is trialling a therapy for psychosis. Almost a quarter of team referrals to the multi-site study were from Horsham ATS clinicians. Since the STAR study opened in Sussex in 2020, the Horsham ATS team consistently took time to promote the STAR study to their patients despite being very busy.

Mid Sussex Assessment and Treatment Service (ATS) - for being supportive of the STAR study. The team promoted the study well to their patients and patients were well informed when the STAR study research team made contact with patients after referral. The team welcomed the research team to staff meetings and were responsive to queries raised by the research team.

Worthing Clozapine Clinic (Shepherd House) - for providing outstanding support for participant recruitment for our study, 'Monitoring antipsychotic drugs in the fingersweat and dried blood spots'.

The team have all contributed to making this research available to patients attending the clinic, provided relevant and accurate study information in order to receive informed consent and they have also supported the research team with sample collection where appropriate. They have taken time out from their work days to attend meetings when requested and they have supported our team to embed the research in different areas where they have had connections.

Their work has greatly contributed to the successful delivery of this study; we are grateful for their commitment to support this research.

Sussex Partnership Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services - The Circle of Security Intervention (COSI) opened at Sussex Partnership in January 2021 and would not have been possible without support from the perinatal mental health teams, both in terms of providing the intervention and recruiting participants. They have made time to learn about and understand the study. Completing the screening measures and discuss with clients also requires more time, and retention and application of study knowledge. With the teams capacity already stretched prior to being involved in this study, each staff member has really have gone over and above to enable successful recruitment. It really is a fantastic example of how research can be embedded into clinical practice, and how this makes the research more successful and sustainable.

Each person or team nominated received a certificate and an overall winner and overall highly commended were chosen by a panel of judges, which included a patient and public representative and members of the Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex Executive.

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