Sep 10th 2015

UK’s first Health Research Bus appears for the first time in Sandwell

The first ever UK Health Research Bus (HRB) will be appearing at Sandwell Hospital on the 10th September 2015, as a key part of activities planned by the Black Country Alliance.

The Black Country Alliance (BCA) partnership, which includes Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH), has agreed with the University of Birmingham to host the health research bus on the Black Country Alliance Trusts’ sites for the next twelve months.

The aim is to promote clinical research by engaging directly with the public and help the BCA partner health Trusts to recruit participants for their research with more flexibility.

The Health Research Bus is a pioneering mobile clinical research facility that aims to increase public engagement in clinical research. The bus is fully equipped to perform a wide range of clinical studies with state-of-the-art facilities including a £100,000 DXA scanner that can be used for measuring body composition and bone mineral density. It also contains rooms for taking blood samples, and providing minor treatments and procedures. The bus will help scientists to engage with a large and diverse population in the Black Country and enable researchers to study health conditions specific to the area. The bus was funded through the Birmingham Science City Translational Medicine programme, with support from InnovateUK. It is managed by the National Institute for Health Research / Wellcome Trust Birmingham Clinical Research Facility (CRF) along with the University of Birmingham.

Professor Chris Buckley, Director of the NIHR/ Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility said: “The bus will be a crucial way to increase the numbers of patients taking part in clinical studies and ensure that results are implemented quickly to improve the health of patients.”

Terry Whalley, BCA Programme Director, said: “The Black Country Alliance, a new model of acute care collaboration between Dudley, Sandwell and West Birmingham and Walsall Trusts, is committed to finding ways to improve high quality clinical research and to translating that research into practice for the benefit of the people we serve in the Black Country.

“The BCA is partnering with the NIHR-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility and the University of Birmingham to pilot the use of the Health Research Bus which we believe will extend the reach of existing clinical research into areas currently not able to participate, and encourage new research initiatives to be undertaken within the Black Country. This is an exciting opportunity for us to do so and to show the early benefits to patients and Trust colleagues of working together within The Black Country Alliance.”

Professor David Adams, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Head of College and Dean of Medicine, at the University of Birmingham commented: ‘The Black Country Alliance is an exciting development for the region and one we are seeking to support. We are delighted to use the Health Research Bus to advertise the research collaborations we are developing with the Alliance.  These will promote research activity across the region bringing the benefits of research to thousands of patients across the West Midlands.”

Professor Karim Raza, Director of Research and Development at SWBH, explained why this is a beneficial project for local communities: “The Health Research Bus will be used to support a number of research studies at the Trust including in Cardiology, Rheumatology and Metabolic medicine and extends the close collaboration between SWBH and the University of Birmingham. Over the course of the next year it is hoped that the Health Research Bus will play a key role in the delivery of the Research Strategy within the Black Country Alliance.”



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