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Title: How can NHS-University partnerships collaborate to deliver translational clinical research? : a case study of local responses to the evolving external policy environment
Author: Cochrane, Catherine Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 8956
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2016
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The strategy of Government to improve translational clinical research in England is being driven through a policy framework that aligns investment to the requirement for collaborative NHS Trust-University arrangements. This has resulted in the creation of new partnerships that in theory should better facilitate the effective delivery of translational clinical research. The study presents new knowledge into how these macro level policy interventions are being translated at the meso (organisational) and micro (individual) levels, utilising Huxham and Vangen's theory of collaborative advantage as the lens through which to view the perspectives of clinical academics from two case study NHS-University partnerships. A comprehensive analysis of the policy environment from the launch of 'Improving National Health: Improving National Wealth' in 2003 through to 2015, provides an insight to Government's ambition to increase the volume and quality of translational clinical research. The study contrasts this ambition with data gathered from qualitative, semi-structured interviews of senior clinical academics working in two case study NHS-University partnerships. A detailed analysis of how policy levers are being translated in the two case study settings is provided, revealing data that has a wider application to other similar partnerships in the Health and University sectors. The study also presents data which demonstrate that whilst funding for translational clinical research has increased at a national level, the majority of this is focussed upon partnerships operating mainly in London and the Southeast. The study's two case study partnerships have been purposively selected to sit outside of these areas, such that the national policy decisions could be tested in regions that historically receive less funding for translational clinical research. This was aligned to the central hypothesis that that the national policy developments will not be sufficient to increase the volumes and quality of translational clinical research across England. The data analysis revealed that both of the NHS-University partnerships displayed individualistic attributes that are not necessarily in-step with, or conducive to, the new national policy environment. These included a lack of clarity with respect to joint performance measures, made more challenging by virtue of the different cultures and priorities that exist within the NHS and University sectors, and a lack of joint leadership to provide the necessary impetus and vision with regards to a strategy for translational clinical research. At an individual level, these pressures were translating into a frustration around the high volume of Government initiatives to which clinical academics are expected to contribute, with the suggestion that a move towards devolved regional approaches would allow partnerships a degree of necessary flexibility. The research also found that the national shortage of clinical academics is a particular issue for NHS-University partnerships based outside of London and the Southeast. Without the necessary numbers of clinical academic staff, the objectives of the new national policy environment for translational clinical research will not be realised, and this is therefore an important finding. The study brings new knowledge and perspectives to an area which has been under researched within the literature, by focussing on two non-accredited NHS-University partnerships, operating outside of London and the SouthEast that have been formed in response to the national policy environment. Its conclusions and recommendations therefore provide a useful insight into how this macro level framework is translated at a local level. As a piece of practitioner research, the study utilises the data analysis to support a series of recommendations that could be applied within the two case study environments or within similar NHS-University settings. It also presents a proposed suite of joint performance measures, suggesting that these might be a useful stimulus at the early stage of NHS-University partnership formation.
Supervisor: Gray, M. ; Qualter, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral