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News article

Health research launched for coastal residents

Published: 08 April 2024

  •   Featured
  •   Research
Three people stood in a line with Scarborough coastline in the background

Professor Garry Tew (left) with Lisa Ballantine, Project Manager and Dr Phil Dickinson, Associate Medical Director and Clinical Lead for SHARC

York St John University’s new Institute for Health and Care Improvement is working with York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to support the development of research to benefit the health of the community of Scarborough and surrounding area.

The new partnership, called Scarborough Coastal Health and Care Research Collaborative (SHARC) has been established to understand and reduce health inequalities affecting the Scarborough’s population. It is hoped the partnership will tackle a range of multiple long and short-term health and care priorities and improve outcomes for patients.

Staff from the Trust will work closely alongside academics from York St John University together with the coast’s social enterprise sector including charities and health organisations such as the SeeCHANGE project.

It will establish new networks of researchers, patients, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders to support the research that is important to the population of Scarborough and its surrounding rural areas.

Speaking on the announcement of SHARC’s launch, Dr Phil Dickinson, Associate Medical Director at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Clinical Lead for SHARC, said:

“Rural and coastal health inequalities are increasingly well known with a life expectancy gap increasing as you move east across North Yorkshire. SHARC offers the opportunity to better understand the causes for this and test interventions that may make a difference.  As the partnership develops, we hope it will also offer local patients new opportunities to be involved in national and international research and clinical trials into new and emerging therapies.”

Lydia Harris, Head of Research and Development at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting new partnership that will deliver high-quality research specifically important to addressing coastal community health.”

It is hoped the Yorkshire coast community would embrace SHARC. The Trust’s Project Manager Lisa Ballantine said: “Connecting with our coastal communities who are the experts of their own personal health experiences will give us the opportunity to help tackle the complex issues that affect them.  The benefit from a patient perspective includes access to new treatments although patients must have a willingness to contribute to the research effort to help test discoveries that can help others.”

The Trust has a long-standing relationship with York St John University and this collaboration is an expansion of the many projects the organisations have worked on together.

Professor Garry Tew, Director of York St John University’s Institute for Health and Care Improvement, and academic lead for this new partnership said:

“York St John University has a new cross-university research institute in health and social care, which is called the Institute for Health and Care Improvement. The Institute’s vision is to improve the health and care of the communities we serve through high-quality collaborative research. This vision aligns closely with that of SHARC. This new partnership between the University and the Trust represents a natural extension of a long-standing relationship.

“We are delighted to be extending our relationship with the Trust and to be helping to better address the health and care needs of Scarborough and other coastal communities through collaborative research.  Through SHARC, we hope to increase the capacity and capability for research at Scarborough Hospital and in local communities.”

Simon Morritt, Chief Executive, York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said he was delighted with the new collaboration.

“I am looking forward to the outcomes of this shared approach to help improve the best care for Trust patients living on the coast.  SHARC will be able to maximise leading support from experts and give us an ideal opportunity to build some strong relationships in health research.” 

Find out about the work of the Institute for Health and Care Improvement.

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