A patient's hand being held
The NIHR ARC West Midlands aims to tackle the key issues facing our healthcare system

A research centre that brings together leading expertise from the West Midlands including the University of Birmingham to address some of the most demanding pressures on health services in the region launches today.

The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands, has begun a five-year programme of research and is hosted by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), with academic partners the Universities of Birmingham, Warwick and Keele. Experts from Birmingham Women's and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust will also play a key role.

The NIHR ARC West Midlands aims to tackle the key issues facing our healthcare system, including the pressures of an ageing population and the increasing demands on the NHS, through collaborative working across NHS Trusts, universities, the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network and other organisations in the West Midlands.

It is one of 15 centres across England awarded funding of almost £9 million for five years by the National Institute for Health Research earlier this year. It builds on the foundations of the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) West Midlands.

Professor Richard Lilford, ARC West Midlands Director, said: “Over the next five years the ARC will bring together the most dedicated researchers, public contributors and healthcare professionals from across the West Midlands.

“Working closely with the Health Service, our collaboration is committed to generating the highest quality research which makes real improvements for patients and the public at every stage in their lives and we will share our findings across the country and beyond.”

Across England, the ARCs will help to solve some of the biggest issues facing health and social care over the next five years, helping to address the increasing demands on the NHS and give patients greater independence and choice about how they manage their healthcare.

The NIHR ARC West Midlands will have four main priorities:

  • Long term health conditions
  • Acute care interfaces
  • Integrated care in youth mental health
  • Maternity care

In addition, it will have two cross-cutting themes: organisational science and research methodology, informatics and rapid response. These needs have been identified following discussions with local communities and health and social care organisations.