As you may be aware, we at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust are now one of the largest mental health and community trusts in the country serving the populations of Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, St.Helens, Warrington and Halton with a range of mental health and community services.
As part of the Trust’s ongoing development, we are now planning to broaden and extend our involvement and development of mental health research at the Trust and we now seek to build on our existing research base, to discover, develop and spread new and developed ways of supporting people with their mental health diagnosis and ongoing recovery.
There are widely acknowledged benefits to NHS Trusts of engaging in research. The Royal College of Physicians 2019 paper “Benefiting from the research effect” emphasises that Trusts who engage in research brings benefit to patients, staff and the Trust itself. Patients benefit from better outcomes and improved survival rates as well as a sense of value through participation in research.
Studies have shown that NHS Staff wish to spend greater time conducting research, improving job satisfaction and leading to the development of additional transferrable skills and new professional networks. Trusts offering opportunities for research participation benefit from improved retention and recruitment of staff. Improving the experience of the workforce in conducting research can also increase and accelerate the translation of research findings into clinical practice, resulting in better outcomes for patients.
The opportunity to access mental health research is not consistent across the country. At present there is a mismatch between regional research activities in mental health and the areas where more people are experiencing mental health conditions. For example, in the North West, we have high prevalence of the population with mental health conditions, however the opportunity to access a mental health trial is very low.
We are planning to develop and broaden the opportunity for our Mersey Care population to access appropriate mental health research in collaboration with an exciting range of partners who want to work with us to push the boundaries of mental health care provision, to help people understand and better manage their diagnosis with a range of clinical and wider support tools, including medical devices, health technologies and digital health. This will align specifically to our ambition to focus more on our service user and carers’ wants and needs and release as much time to care as possible for our clinical colleagues in all disciplines across the trust.
In order to make this research as effective as possible, we are reaching out to everyone working in our mental health services to ask whether you would be interested in working in or contributing to a research study in the future. This feedback will support our bid for research funding and expertise to be channelled into Merseyside to support our local populations.
To let us know how you feel about this and to gauge the appetite from our staff to support and work in or with mental health trials, we have compiled a very short, introductory questionnaire which it would be great if you could complete.
Your feedback will be anonymous and is for our internal use only. It gives us a broad spectrum response to build into our research funding bid so that the grant funders understand the base of support we have at the trust to make future research programmes successful. Once we have succeeded in obtaining funding for our planned programmes, we will conduct more formal requests to join the studies but this will follow in months to come.
Thank you in advance for your help in us being able to demonstrate a strong support for mental health research across the wider Merseyside region. Your feedback today will mean that we are better placed to prevent mental ill health and to also help people back to full health when they have a diagnosed condition.