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Helping to improve the health and care of patients and the public.

The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) is supporting applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.


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About us

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) fund, enable and deliver world-leading health and social care research that improves people's health and wellbeing, and promotes economic growth.

The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) supports applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.

We are  one of 15 ARCs across England, part of a £135 million investment by the NIHR to improve the health and care of patients and the public.

Our research activity is  pivotal in finding new and evaluting better ways of preventing illness and delivering care, ensuring that Greater Manchester continues to be at the leading edge of health innovation, applied research, care and treatment.

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Health Inequalities
Public Health
Social Care


£40,000 funding awards available for Applied Health and Care research projects


The Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) Applied Health and Care Research Group, a joint initiative between MAHSC and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM), are offering the opportunity to apply for awards to fund cross-discipline, multi-institution, research-led projects that have potential to generate health and social care impact and benefits to people and communities, patients, and carers.


The projects should focus on topics allied to applied health and care and consider the specific health needs of the Greater Manchester area, with a view to ongoing impact, publications, and potential for securing definitive funding. Multiple awards are available for up to £20,000-£40,000 per project.


The Principle Investigator and team must be working in a university or NHS organisation in the Greater Manchester area.


Projects should align with the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership strategy 2022-2028 and Greater Manchester’s 5-year Joint Forward Plan.


For guidance, the 6 missions of the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership are as follows:


  • The recovery of NHS and care services
  • Strengthening our Communities
  • Increasing prosperity
  • Prevention and early detection
  • Supporting our Workforce and Carers
  • Achieving financial sustainability


The full Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership Strategy, Improving health and care in Greater Manchester, 2023-2028, can be viewed here, with the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership Joint Forward Plan available here.


Professor Matt Sutton, MAHSC Applied Health and Care Research Group Chair, Professor of Health Economics at the University of Manchester, and NIHR ARC-GM Deputy Director, said:


“This is an exciting opportunity to develop research studies that have the potential to generate health and social care impact and benefits to people and communities, patients, and carers. We look forward to receiving applications that help to address the key challenges facing the Greater Manchester health and social care system.”



Projects are encouraged to tackle health and social care inequalities, including but not limited to, the inclusion of under-served groups in research. It is important that projects include a named sponsor from the local health and care system, demonstrate Public and Community Involvement (PPIE), and (representation/inclusion) of voluntary sector partners is encouraged.


The awards may fund staff salaries, project running costs, and equipment essential to the study/project, and the grant duration is for 1 year. Awards cannot cover research overhead costs. 


Applications can be submitted to, with a closing date of 26th January 2024 and a decision will be made on funding awards by February 2024.


More information on the application process can be found on the application form below.


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New Study Shows Widening Socioeconomic Inequalities in Flu Vaccine Uptake during COVID-19 Pandemic.


A new study published in PLOS medicine, from researchers at the University of Manchester and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) finds that socioeconomic inequalities in annual seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine uptake widened significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The study utilised electronic health records from Greater Manchester (2015/16 to 2021/22), focussing on three age groups eligible for the NHS flu vaccination:


  • preschool children (ages 2 to 3 years),
  • primary school children (ages 4 to 9 years), and
  • older adults (age 65 years and above).



Key findings of the study include:


  • Among older adults, the gap in flu vaccine uptake between the least and most income-deprived areas doubled over the seven flu seasons, with approximately 80% of this increase occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Among preschool children, the uptake gap increased in 2020/21 before decreasing in 2021/22.
  • Among primary school children, inequalities increased in both COCID-19 pandemic years,
  • Despite an overall increase in vaccine uptake during the pandemic, larger increases occurred in less deprived areas, leading to wider inequalities across all age groups.



The study's lead author, Dr Ruth Watkinson, commented these findings:



“The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruption to routine healthcare services, making it harder for some people to get their flu vaccine. There was also a big increase in misinformation about vaccination, which may have put some people off taking up the flu vaccine. It’s really important that we work to address these factors and reduce vaccine uptake inequalities.”



The researchers believe that the widening socioeconomic inequalities in flu vaccine uptake during the COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate disparities in flu-related morbidity and mortality.


This study underscores the need for public health officials and policymakers to address these disparities and ensure that vaccines are accessible to all, especially during public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Further research is required to better understand the underlying causes and develop strategies to mitigate these inequalities in vaccine uptake.


Read the paper in full here:




Published 03/10/2023




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Involvement in Research Through Participatory Arts: 'Hidden LIVE – Adam's Story'


A new paper, published in Child Adolescent Mental Health explores the use of participatory arts to create a theatre production titled  "Hidden LIVE - Adam's Story."


In recent years, participatory arts have gained recognition for involving the public in various forms of creative expression, such as film, music, photography, and theatre. This approach has shown potential value in public and patient participation in health and care research by allowing individuals to creatively express their perspectives and experiences related to health conditions, treatments, and services. Participatory arts can also offer a platform for healthcare professionals to reflect on their practice.


"Hidden LIVE – Adam's story", which was first performed in May 2022, addresses the mental health challenges faced by young people. It combines a pre-recorded podcast narrating a fictional young person's story with a live monologue from a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) caseworker's perspective. The aim of the production was to raise awareness, and to encourage discussions about solutions related to youth mental health.


An interactive workshop followed the performance, enabling attendees to share their experiences and brainstorm ways to enhance the well-being of young individuals dealing with mental health issues.


"Hidden LIVE – Adam's story" was co-produced with 10 young individuals aged 17 to 24 from Greater Manchester with personal or supportive experiences related to their mental health. They collaborated with an arts-based company Made by Mortals and health researchers from National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) across eight online workshops to develop the production, focussing on the challenging transition from CAMHS to adult mental health services. Together, they shaped the character, script, recording, and soundtrack.


In the creation of "Hidden LIVE – Adam's story", co-production principles played a pivotal role in promoting collaboration, equity, and shared responsibility among team members. Young participants were treated as true collaborators, one of the young people, Ashgan, 21, talks about their experience working on this project here.



Dr Andrew Grundy (Lived Experience Researcher) and author of the paper commented:


"This paper defines and then evidences co-production principles put into practice in this theatre production. It will benefit anyone working in the participatory arts, and in involvement activities, showing what it might mean to work towards co-production principles. We’ve now worked with some of the young people on the team to develop an evaluation questionnaire to formally capture the impacts of the performance on attendees."



Using co-production principles in health and care and research can guide public involvement in participatory arts and improve engagement. The participatory arts are effective in addressing mental health issues by empowering service users and healthcare professionals but more research is needed to understand the benefits and challenges, both for young participants and attendees, and to formally evaluate such projects.



Watch a video abstract of this paper here:




Read the paper in full here:




Published 03/10/2023

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New funding secured to continue research on support strategies for parents of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder


Researchers from The University of Manchester, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM), The University of Liverpool, and several charity an clinical experts, have secured an extra £150k of funding from the NIHR to continue their work on reducing the burden and distress experienced by parents and carers of children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).


In the initial NIHR funded CO-ASSIST study, the research team looked at published evidence and spoke to parents and carers of children with OCD and professionals to understand parent support needs.


Through workshops with parents and professionals, the study found that the most helpful solution would be to develop an online platform containing co-produced parent-informed resources and information to help parents and carers that are supporting a child with OCD.


Watch this short animation explaining the CO-ASSIST Findings:





As part of the new study, which is hosted by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, the team will work with parents/carers to co-design a prototype of the intervention and will work closely with a panel of 8-10 parents/carers to plan research to test the new platform. The research team will also work with community groups and relevant organisations to make sure the platform is accessible to parents from ethnic minorities and refugee communities. 


For more information and to keep up to date with this programme please access the ‘Development of a programme to reduce burden and distress in parents and carers of children with OCD’ pages here:




Published 09/10/2023



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‘Hidden: Adam’s Story’ Interactive Film Launch - World Mental Health Day 10th October 2023


We are pleased to announce that on World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2023, we will be launching a new and free, online interactive film.


The ‘Hidden: Adam’s Story’ film and resource have been developed to support discussions around mental health for young people, through  exploring young people's mental health issues from the perspective of a young person affected by mental health illness, whilst also looking into the impacts on their siblings, mothers and keyworkers.


The film includes an interactive discussion on the barriers faced by the characters, and how we can help overcome these. The film's aim is to strengthen communication and relationships between young people, their families and those who support them.


Back in September 2021, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM), Made by Mortals and the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Research Collaboration (GM PSRC) embarked on a project with 10 young individuals (aged 16 to 18) from across Greater Manchester to collaborate on a podcast where they created a character reflecting their own personal experiences.


The podcast then transformed into an immersive live show, Hidden LIVE.


One of the young people who co-produced the podcast and video resource, Sadia Mir, commented:


“When I think back to the start of the project, I remember being very nervous. I did not feel like as young people would actually be listened to and that I would not be talking about my involvement in the project at all. I was very wrong!


The project from the start made me feel included and heard, and 'Adam's Story' is a project I fondly talk about as an achievement and a piece of my own story. I have talked about Adam's Story to friends, family, future employers and cited it as good practice in my everyday work. I'm proud of our achievement - one that truly listened to, and was developed by us young people.”

The free, film and resource are accessible to anyone interested in young people's mental health, including families, young people, mental health/health and social care professionals, teachers, youth group leaders, charities with a Mental Health focus, schools and colleges.


When you sign up to this event, you will receive:


  • The link to watch ‘Hidden: Adam's Story’ in advance of World Mental Health Day - Tuesday 10th October.
  • A PDF guide to the interactive workshop within Hidden: Adam's Story. The film is led by a presenter who guides you through discussion questions informed by Adam's story.
  • A list of signposting information where support can be found for individuals affected by mental health illness.


Professor Karina Lovell, ARC-GM Mental Health Theme Lead commented:


"This amazing film highlights the real barriers that young people face in mental health difficulties. The co-production with young people and our partnership with Made by Mortals has made the film a reflective piece for all.”


Watch the trailer here:



Sign up for access to a new interactive film, Hidden: Adam's Story here.


Published 22/09/2023

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Ill-health and deprivation: How we can address health inequalities in left behind neighbourhoods


We have long known that the health of people living in deprived areas is worse than the national average. But this raises important questions, such as how big is the gap? Is it narrowing or growing over time? Are some deprived places worse off than others? And how do health inequalities affect economic performance?


In this article, from Policy@Manchester's Power in Place publication, Dr Luke Munford our NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) Deputy Lead for Economic Sustainability, looks at those disparities in greater detail.


  • Men and women living in left behind neighbourhoods live, respectively, 3.7 years and 3 years fewer than average. This gap in life expectancy has been widening.
  • Tackling these health disparities will not only improve the lives of millions of citizens, it will also bring significant savings to the taxpayer.
  • The Levelling Up strategy must include a strand on reducing spatial health disparities through targeting multiple neighbourhood, community and healthcare factors.


You can access the full blog from the Policy@Manchester site here


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PPIE Award for Valued Panel Member


Members of the NIHR ARC-GM and Health Innovation Manchester Public and Community Involvement and Engagement Panel (PCIE), bring a range of skills, knowledge and lived experience to research themes.


One member, Manoj Mistry, has served as a valued member of the panel since 2017. His invaluable contributions have extended to various research projects and teachings across the University of Manchester Faculty’s PPIE Forum, Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education (MAHSE), Doubleday Centre, and Primary Care Research in Manchester Engagement Resource (PRIMER) patient groups. 


Manoj won the Individual Public Contributor category at the 2023 Social responsibility in The University of Manchester Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health ‘Outstanding Contribution to PPIE’ awards.  


Manoj commented:


“I was pleased and delighted to go be given this award. It would not have been possible without some of the outstanding individuals at The University of Manchester that I have worked with over the last 12 years".

NIHR ARC-GM and Health Innovation Manchester would like to congratulate Manoj on this award, and on the valuable insights that he has contributed to vital work since joining the Public and Community Involvement and Engagement Panel (PCIE).


The University of Manchester has published a blog displaying the inspirational and outstanding commitment to Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE).


You can access the full blog about Manoj’s award win here.


Find out more about our Public and Community Involvement and Engagement Panel here.


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Economics for policy & practice: Showcasing economists in NIHR ARCs & PRUs

Event: Event

Date: 10th October 2023

Time: 09:30 - 16:00

'Economics for policy & practice: Showcasing economists in NIHR ARCs & PRUs' will offer an opportunity for economists working in NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) and Policy Research Units (PRUs) to join together as we showcase the highlights of work done to date, as well as ongoing and upcoming plans.


We'll be welcoming key local policy and decision-makers and national NHS England colleagues, as well as researchers from all NIHR ARCs and PRUs.


This free event is located in central Manchester and includes lunch and refreshments.

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New paper proposes 7-step method for evaluating commercial health apps.


A recent publication in BMJ Open by researchers from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) and the University of Manchester unveiled a new 7-step method and supporting framework for evaluating commercial smartphone health apps.


There are many smartphone health apps on the market already used by patients, the public and healthcare professionals; however, existing published reviews primarily focus on apps developed and used by researchers, overlooking the evaluation of commercial mobile health (mHealth) apps.


This work, which aimed to address the lack of consistent methods for conducting systematic reviews of mHealth apps, used case studies of existing reviews conducted by the research team in addition to reviews published in key medical informatics journals to provide guidelines for future evaluations.


The research team introduced the novel TECH approach to develop review questions and the eligibility criteria, which considers the Target user, Evaluation focus, Connectedness and the Health domain.


The research paper outlines seven key steps for conducting rigorous health app reviews:


  1. writing a research question or aims,
  2. conducting scoping searches and developing the protocol,
  3. determining the eligibility criteria using the TECH framework,
  4. conducting the final search and screening of health apps,
  5. data extraction,
  6. quality, functionality and other assessments, and
  7. analysis and synthesis of findings.


The next step is to develop reporting guidelines for systematic health app reviews.


Norina Gasteiger, ARC-GM funded PhD fellow, lead author on this paper, and the recent winner of the 2023 Postgraduate Research Student of the Year Award for the School of Health Sciences at The University of Manchester commented:


“This work has been a collaborative effort, with involvement by digital health researchers and academics at the University of Manchester who are experts in conducting health app and systemic literature reviews. We are excited to be progressing the method and ensuring that future app reviews are performed in a standardised and reliable manner. We hope our work will guide best practice and demystify the process.”


Read the paper in full:


Published: 26/06/2023

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Improving outcomes through collaborative research – the successes in Greater Manchester


We are celebrating our fourth year in operation by sharing our successes, ambitions and achievements in a new impact report.


Since the inception of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM), we have cultivated strong partnerships with the NHS, councils, patients and the public, the third sector, industry and universities across the region. We have created a platform and network for discussions and relationships between the universities, academics, heath and care systems, local authorities and VCSE sectors to enable research to be undertaken that is aligned to the priorities and needs of local areas.


During this time, we have also played a leading role in leveraging around £23 million in additional research funding into Greater Manchester, collaborating with more than 120 organisations, in over 100 research projects.


ARC-GM is one of 15 NIHR funded regional ARCs across England; created to support health and care research that meets the needs of local people and healthcare systems in Greater Manchester. 


We are launching  - ‘Our Story So Far’ - to showcase some of the impactful work that ARC-GM has carried out and our vision for the future. Some of our successes include:


  • Co-developing research with parents and carers of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The project helped parents to make sense of OCD and dispel misconceptions, supported families to develop a shared understanding of the condition and provided opportunities for parents to be heard by people who understand.
  • Highlighting the issues that affect the local population including published research on the impact of COVID-19, building a fairer future for children and overcoming health inequalities in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods. These evidence-based reports have been shared with the Government and are supported by MPs and policy makers.
  • Supporting the development of the next generation of researchers, offering PhD studentships, Pre-doctoral Fellowships and Research Internships to health and care professions, service users and carers, university undergraduates. 27 Research Interns have spent time with the ARC-GM team, enhancing their research knowledge and skills through first-hand, supervised experience.
  • A study of inequalities in the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly in those most at-risk on contracting the virus. This allowed ARC-GM to explore sensitive issues that may not have otherwise come up, including the existing mistrust amongst some marginalised groups stemming from racism and experiences of culturally insensitive healthcare.
  • Co-producing “Adam’s Story” with local young people – an audience immersive multi-media theatre experience which allows viewers to put a mask on and become ‘Adam’, a young man facing a mental health crisis, and understand the challenges Adam faces. The piece was made in partnership with local theatre production company Made by Mortals to help raise awareness young people’s mental health and creating opportunities for important conversations. More information about Adam’s Story is available on YouTube  



Prof. Dame Nicky Cullum, ARC-GM Director, said: 


“ARCs are in a unique and important position within communities, in that the research they do is responsive to local needs and priorities. It’s important that ARCs are locally focused because there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach; every area is different to the next – particularly in the North. What makes our ARC in Greater Manchester stand out is the relationships we’ve made, to co-produce, design and deliver research that provides answers to important local questions, to support the health and wellbeing of people in our area.”



Mark Fisher, Chief Executive at NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said:


“Research and innovation is vital to ensuring we, as an Integrated Care system, remain at the forefront of improving population health outcomes. Our partnership with ARC-GM is both long-standing and successful. It is essential we can continue to work together to meet the many challenges we are facing to ensure we deliver the very best for our residents.”



Further details of the work and successes of the ARC are available to view in the full report:



NIHR ARC-GM: Our Story So Far



Published 7th June 2023

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Northern regions received £21m less from flagship ‘levelling up’ fund


New analysis of the government’s Community Renewal Fund (CRF) allocation has found that the North missed out on funding to the tune of £21 million.


The CRF, which was a cornerstone of the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, was established to address regional inequalities through investment in place-based initiatives.


However, the findings of a new study suggest that the current method for CRF allocation runs the risk of widening existing inequalities rather than ‘levelling up’.


Academics from Health Equity North (HEN), The University of Manchester and ourselves at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) examined the allocation of the first round of the CRF across English regions, and whether more economically deprived regions are getting a proportionate share of the pot.


They found that:


  • Nationally, there was no significant correlation between regional economic resilience and funding allocations.
  • All regions in the North of England received less than their expected share of the flagship ‘levelling up’ fund.
  • The least resilient region in England – the North East – received £13.4 million less.
  • By contrast, the South West was awarded £9.9 million more than their expected share.



To support CRF allocation, the government developed a way to measure economic resilience, which covered productivity, skills, unemployment, population density, and household income. These were selected to identify places with poor economic performance, which would be less able to resist and recover from shocks.


The CRF allocation process involved multiple stages, with the economic resilience index being used at the outset to identify 100 priority places. There are more than 10 steps from the identification of priority places to CRF bid approval, with the final decision made by the Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities.


The analysis by the resaechers,  used the UK government’s methodology to construct a regional economic resilience index to generate a ‘fair share’ funding allocation and compared these to the actual allocation.


The average resilience score in England was 46.0, ranging from 28.5 in the North East to 65.6 in London. 


Dr Luke Munford,  ARC-GM Deputy Lead for Economic Sustainability, Co-Academic Director at Health Equity North, and Senior Lecturer in Health Economics at the University of Manchester, said:


“There are deep-rooted, persistent regional inequalities in health and wealth across England. People in the North live shorter lives and have higher rates of bad health, disability and economic inactivity. These inequalities have widened during recent decades and will continue to do so without effective policies put in place by government.


“While investment like the Community Renewal Fund is very welcome, the methodology for distribution of the funding doesn’t add up and has the potential to further widen the North-South divide.


“Despite committing to targeting people and places most in need, our research shows the imbalance that remains when it comes to investing in areas that face worse inequalities.


“To mitigate this risk, there needs to be allocation of funding at a regional level, based on an objective measure of need and involving local leaders in decision making.”



Christine Camacho, ARC-GM PhD Fellow and Public Health Registrar, said:


“The ‘levelling up’ agenda offers an opportunity to address the longstanding inequalities in England, but our findings clearly show that there was no significant correlation between regional economic resilience and CRF funding allocations.


“A transparent approach for the distribution of funding to regions based on need is essential. Economic resilience is only one part of the story. A multidimensional index of community resilience could be used to assess place-based disparities.”



The full paper has been published in Regional Studies, Regional Science and is avaiable available below:



published 23rd May 2023

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Growing divide in regional health inequalities exposed


A new report has found a worrying pattern of lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and worse health and wellbeing in the North of England.


Health Equity North: 2023 provides a snapshot of the health issues facing the North and adds to a growing body of evidence highlighting the urgent need to address regional health inequalities and improve productivity in the North.


The report (available here) marks the launch of Health Equity North (HEN), a new virtual institute focused on place-based solutions to public health problems and health inequalities across the North of England.


The institute’s academic directors analysed the latest available data on life expectancy, infant mortality rates and self-assessed health, disability, and unpaid care, and the findings have exposed the worsening health divide between the North and the rest of England.


The North does significantly worse in all these areas, which also impacts productivity with above average rates of economic inactivity due to ill health or disability.


The key findings include:


  • People born in the North can expect to live at least one year less than the English average.
  • The North East of England has the lowest life expectancy - around three years less than the best performing regions
  • Across the North there is an average of 4 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 3 deaths per 1,000 live births in London and the South East - this equated to an extra 144 infant deaths in the North in 2021
  • Of the 72 local authorities in the North of England, 52 (72%) have lower levels of very good or good health than the national average
  • The North has higher rates of bad/very bad health with 6.9% of people in the North East, 6.4% in North West, and 5.9% in Yorkshire and the Humber reporting bad/very bad health - compared to the English average of 5.3%
  • The North has the highest rates of people who report that their day-to-day activities are limited a lot by a disability: North East (9.8%), North West (9.1%), Yorkshire and the Humber (8.2%) – compared to the English average of 7.5%
  • The five local authorities with the highest levels of people who report a disability limits their day-to-day actives a lot are located in the North: Knowsley (North West; 13%), Liverpool (North West; 12.7%), Blackpool (North West; 12%), Manchester (North West; 11.4%), and Hartlepool (North East; 11.3%)
  • The North has higher rates of economic inactivity due to ill health or disability: 5.7% in the North East, 5.3% in the North West, 4.7% in Yorkshire and the Humber – compared to the English average of 4.1%
  • The top five local authorities with the highest levels of economic inactivity due to long-term sickness or disability are in the North
  • More people in the North state that they provide unpaid care - in the North East 10.1%, the North West 9.7%, and Yorkshire and the Humber is 9.3%, compared to the English average of 8.9%


HEN brings together leading academics who have a unique understanding of their regional communities enabling the creation of research and policy solutions of local benefit. The institute will produce annual updates of health in the North to help and challenge local and national policy makers in their efforts to reduce regional inequalities.


The institute directors were joined by leading health and policy experts from across the North of England at the HEN launch event in Leeds on April 19, 2023, where they discussed the findings of the new report and HEN’s mission to tackle inequalities in the northern regions.


Dr Luke Munford, HEN Academic Director, ARC-GM Deputy Lead for Economic Sustainability, Health Economist from the University of Manchester, and co-author of the report, said:


“Health Equity North’s first health status report adds further weight to the growing list of evidence laying bare the ingrained health divide across the country. The northern regions have faced worse health outcomes for many years and with the added challenges posed in the wake of the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis, things look set to continue on a downward spiral.


However, a joined up approach to tackle these inequalities at local and national level would help to rebalance regional health inequity.”


Professor Clare Bambra, HEN Academic Director, ARC North East and North Cumbria Lead for Inequalities and Marginalsed communities, Professor of Public Health at Newcastle University, and co-author of the report, said:


“Health Equity North is committed to fighting health inequity through research, policy impact, and public health improvement.  Our first report clearly shows that health inequalities in the North of England aren’t going away. They are getting worse and they will continue to do so without urgent action to ensure people living in the North have the same life chances as those in the rest of England.”


The report authors have made a series of recommendations to help improve health and productivity in the North:


  1. Local government, Integrated Care Systems and combined mayoral authorities should work with researchers to identify areas of greatest health need within their authorities where they can most effectively implement evidence-based policies to tackle the social determinants of health.
  2. Central government should commit to policies and interventions to improve health across the North and take a cross-governmental approach, across the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, the Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Science Innovation and Technology.
  3. Long-term increases in public health funding to local authorities and the Integrated Care Systems in the North need to be made and ring-fenced and achievements reported to Parliament.
  4. Prioritise the development of an integrated, national health inequalities strategy with an explicit focus on addressing the social determinants of health:
  • reducing poverty
  • improving housing
  • increasing energy security
  • creating better jobs
  • improving early child development and education
  • creating healthy and sustainable places in which to live and work
  • improving efforts at prevention


  1. Research funders should give increased priority to research that helps to address health inequalities including a place-based focus on prevention.
  2. Provide universal access to occupational health for the country’s workforce with a specific focus on increasing access and supporting employers in areas with the worst health outcomes.
  3. Increase NHS and local authority resources and service provision for mental health in the North. Increase the existing NHS health inequalities weighting within the NHS funding formula.
  4. Embed Equality Impact Assessments in all policy processes relating to socioeconomic deprivation at national, regional, and local levels.
  5. Integrated Care Systems should commission more health promotion, condition management and prevention services that promote the health and wellbeing of the workforce in the North.
  6. Local public health and health inequalities budgets in the NHS should be safeguarded so that action to relieve acute NHS backlogs does not undermine efforts to tackle the root causes of ill-health and boost health resilience.


To find out more about Health Equity North and to read the full report, visit:


Pubished 15th May 2023

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Levelling up or widening the gap?


There are deep-rooted regional inequalities in health and wealth across England. ‘Levelling Up’ is the UK Government’s flagship policy to redress these inequalities through additional investment, with the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) one strand of this funding.


In this Policy@Manchester blog, Christine Camacho (ARC-GM PhD student and Public Health Registrar) and Dr Luke Munford (ARC-GM Deputy Lead for Economic Sustainability and Health Economist from the University of Manchester) examine the allocation of the first round of the CRF across English regions, and whether more economically deprived regions are getting a proportionate share of the pot.


  • Based on an economic resilience index, Northern regions received £21 million less than their expected share of the first round of the CRF.
  • Nationally, there was no significant correlation between regional economic resilience and funding allocations.
  • As such, the current allocation method may widen, rather than reduce, regional disparities – and jeopardise the levelling up agenda.


People living in the North of England have an average life expectancy 2 years lower than the rest of the country, and a £4 per-person-per-hour gap in economic productivity. These inequalities are persistent and have widened during recent decades. Existing geographical divides were exacerbated by austerity, and feelings of being ‘left behind’ are considered to have contributed to a reshaping of the UK’s political landscape, including spurring the Conservative Party to propose a regional development policy of ‘Levelling Up’ as a centrepiece of their successful 2019 election manifesto...


You can read the fhe full blog from the Policy@Manchester website here.

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New PhD studentship opportunity: October 2023 start


In collaboration with the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Research Collaboration, we are pleased to be able to offer a funded PhD studentship at The University of Manchester on “Social Workers’ Implementation of National Guidelines with Looked-After Children Who Self-Harm.”


This mixed methods PhD will first explore current social work practice, including if/how current guidelines are used to guide practice. It will then use the behaviour change wheel [1] and stakeholder involvement [2] to develop an intervention to support social workers’ management of self-harm among looked-after children.



Entry Criteria:

Applicants are expected to hold a minimum upper second-class undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent) in Psychology or cognate discipline.


A Masters degree in a relevant subject and/or experience in relation to social work and/or self-harm is desirable. 




Studentship funding is for a duration of three years to commence in October 2023 and covers UK tuition fees and a stipend.


However, due to funding restrictions the studentship is only open to UK nationals.



How to apply:

More information about this PhD opportunity and details of how to apply are available from the Find A PhD website:




published 28th March 2023

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How NIHR ARCs rose to the challenge of COVID-19


A national publication highlighting how National Institute for Health and Care Research Applied Research Collaborations (NIHR ARCs) rose to the challenge of COVID-19 launched pn Thursday 23rd March, the third anniversary of the first UK lockdown.


Vital work from across the ARCs in response to the pandemic is showcased in NIHR ARCs: Supporting the fight against COVID-19 (PDF), including ARC Grester Manchester projects.


The publication brings together case studies demonstrating how ARCs pivoted their research programmes in response to the pandemic. It showcases work across a range of themes including children and young people, care homes, equality and diversity, end of life care and workforce planning.


Three projects from ARC Greater Mancheste are included in this new publication:



Bringing these projects together shows how ARCs were able to pivot their research in response to the pandemic, thanks to their funding from NIHR. ARCs’ expertise in data modelling, multiple long-term conditions, mental health and social care, alongside their ability to build and sustain collaborations placed them in a unique position to support the COVID-19 effort.


The publication was led by NIHR ARC East Midlands, with communications support from NIHR ARC West. In the foreword, the ARC Directors write:


“In 2020, we made rapid changes to our research programmes across the ARCs, to inform policy and practice, improve health and care, and deliver national-level impact in this rapidly changing landscape.


“Our expertise in data modelling, multiple long-term conditions, mental health and social care alongside our ability to build and sustain collaborations across the NHS, social care, the voluntary sector and industry, has placed us in a unique position. We have been able to contribute to the efforts to understand the virus and its impact on communities, locally, nationally and globally.


“This publication outlines our response as ARCs, both collectively and individually, to this challenge. It showcases the part we have played in supporting the health and care sector and patients, public and communities. We are proud of our part in lending our expertise to understanding the disease and assisting the global effort to contain it, improving outcomes and saving lives.”



Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR and the Department of Health and Social Care’s Chief Scientific Advisor, said:


“This impressive report sets out how that effort was provided, extending across many different themes, specialisms, and areas of the country. It illustrates how researchers, working together to tackle a common cause, can have such an important impact for patients and the public.”



Download NIHR ARCs: Supporting the fight against COVID-19 (PDF).



To keep up to date with the latest funding opportunities, events and projects, from across the country, join the ARC email newsletter and follow @NIHRARCs on Twitter.

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Social Work Week: An interview with Professor of Social Work, Alys Young.


This year’s social work week runs from Monday 20 to Friday 24 March with the aim to bring people together to learn, connect, and influence change.


Watch Prof Michelle Briggs, our ARC-GM Capacity Building Theme Lead, talk to Prof Alys Young, Professor of Social Work at The University of Manchester.


This short interview covers Alys’ career pathway, her experiences of supporting a social worker as part of our ARC-GM research internship programme, and Alys’ advice for people thinking about a career in social care research.  



Find out more about social work week here:


Read more about our social care focussed research here:


Published 21/03/2023

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Applications are now open for ARC Greater Manchester’s Pre-doctoral Fellowship Programme


Each year since the inception of ARC-GM, we have offered professionals from the health and care system in Greater Manchester the opportunity to spend time with researchers to develop a competitive PhD proposal. By contributing up to £20,000 in backfill per Fellowship, plus a £2,000 training budget, ARC-GM aims to develop research capacity across a range of disciplines. Previous Fellows include those from Social Work, Nursing, Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy and Dietetics.


Capacity Building Programme Manager, Ross Atkinson, commented: 


“Not only are we seeing an increase in the number of people applying to our Fellowships, but we are attracting interest from a wide range of professional backgrounds – not just in the NHS. We are particularly keen to receive applications from those working in Local Authorities and other organisations where research is perhaps less prominent to see how we can support. This week is Social Work Week – social work is one area we are looking to make a difference.”


Laura McGarrigle, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist and ARC-GM Pre-doctoral Fellow, shared her experience: 


“I had a project plan in place, had made contact with potential supervisors and an awareness of what future self-development was required. Having been successful in gaining a pre-doctoral fellowship position, I have found I have more self-confidence when it comes to engaging with opportunities that arise and accepting the challenges head on!"


Guidance for applicants, a link to the online application form and information about previous years’ Pre-doctoral Fellows can be found on the ARC-GM website here.


Published 20/03/2023


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Declining mental health, Long COVID and preventable deaths – how the COVID-19 pandemic hit the North harder


A group of leading academics have today (Monday 13th March) released a book that details how people in the North of England suffered significant inequalities compared to their Southern counterparts during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Northern Exposure, written by Professor Clare Bambra and Dr Natalie Bennett of Newcastle University and Dr Luke Munford and Sam Khavandi of the University of Manchester and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Greater Manchester, builds on reports the authors produced with the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) over the course of the pandemic. These showed the devastating impact of regional inequalities on how severely COVID-19 hit the region.


It reveals how:


  • Around 2,500 deaths could have been prevented if ‘Levelling Up’ of the North had occurred pre-pandemic.
  • The average COVID-19 mortality rate during the first 13 months of the pandemic was 17% higher in the North - an additional 29.4 more deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Rates of long COVID are 30% higher in the North than in the rest of the country.
  • Hospital pressure was 10% greater in the North, and experienced larger reductions in elective, inpatient, emergency inpatient and outpatient procedures.
  • People from minority ethnic backgrounds, women and younger people experienced greater declines in mental health during the pandemic. People in these groups in the North had worse mental health scores than those in the rest of England


The book also details how, in addition to the severe health impacts, the pandemic also took a toll on economic outcomes. On average, those living in the North experienced:


  • A 20% higher rise of levels in unemployment compared to the rest of England
  • An additional 6 weeks in the harshest levels of lockdown
  • A drop in wages during the pandemic compared to elsewhere in the country


Professor Bambra, lead for Inequalities and Marginalised Communities at the NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria, has been instructed as an independent expert witness to module 1 (which examines the UK’s pandemic preparedness and resilience) of the COVID-19 Independent Public Inquiry, chaired by Baroness Heather Hallett. She will do this alongside Professor Michael Marmot, Institute of Health Equity. She said:


“Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and entering further challenging times, our book highlights the urgent need for policies that support the building of a stronger, healthier, and more equal country – for everyone.”



Co-author Dr Luke Munford, Deputy Lead for Economic Sustainability at NIHR ARC Greater Manchester, said:


“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, England was a deeply unequal country. Individual circumstances, including where you live, led to different outcomes in key domains of people’s lives, including their health and wealth. We found that more deprived areas in the North experienced greater COVID-19 mortality than equally deprived areas in the rest of the country. In particular, the effects of deprivation on health are made worse when an area is in a region which already has higher deprivation levels.”



Hannah Davies, health inequalities lead for the NHSA, wrote the foreword for the book. She said:

“Understanding where the North of England fits into the rejuvenation of the country is vital. The economic arguments for improving the health of the most deprived communities in the UK are clearly and dramatically shown. The North’s relatively poor physical and mental health meant it suffered under the pandemic for longer and it hit harder. Nowhere has it been illustrated more clearly that health is wealth – and that is a lesson we must take into the future.


“Unless action is taken to rectify this, there is likely to be a long-term health legacy from the COVID-19 crisis – with health inequalities increasing into the future. To avoid a long shadow of COVID-19 hanging over the future of the North, we need to act to reduce the North-South divide.”


Northern Exposure is published by Policy Press, an imprint of Bristol University Press and is available to view at

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Putting the voices of those most in need at the heart of research to tackle health and care inequalities. A blog by Sue Wood.


The recent commitments from Northern Leaders at the Convention of the North, highlights that  tackling health and care inequalities is a key priority for the North of England and Greater Manchester, with a need to find real solutions to the challenges of levelling up the North with other areas of England and uniting the North to unlock its potential. A series of recent reports shines a spotlight on the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the health and care inequalities that are deeply entrenched within the North of England.[1][2][3][4][5]


Research has a vital role to play in improving health and care for all, getting to the root causes of health and care inequalities and the needs of diverse communities, providing the evidence of what works to address these unfair and avoidable differences.  However, we also know that those most vulnerable in our communities are disproportionately affected yet under represented in research studies.

Never has it been more important to do research ‘with’ not ‘for’ or ‘about’ the people, it is designed to help with health and care policy needing to be driven by the experiences of communities.

You do not have to look too hard to find plenty of references to ‘a strong sense of community’ across the localities and neighbourhoods of Greater Manchester. However, the experiences of our diverse communities vary and valuing their differences is crucial to involve and engage with all communities, especially marginalised and those that are seldom heard. If we are to create equal involvement opportunities for all we need to understand the value and needs of these communities and create better ways of enabling their voices to be heard.



The Greater Manchester Public and Community Involvement Engagement Forum was set up in March 2020 with a vision of being a safe space for those with a passion to improve the way research organisations work together with colleagues from  the Voluntary, Charity and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector and members of the public, bringing people together to share best practices, opportunities and to form connections of mutual benefit. 


From the Forum has grown some exciting and innovative partnerships but also a growing recognition that there is much more that needs to be done to build trust and sustain mutually beneficial relationships between research organisations and the communities of Greater Manchester to ensure that the research we do is truly representative of our diverse population.   


In March 2022 National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) and the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Translational Research Centre (GM PSTRC), with VCSE colleagues held a workshop showcasing some of the research that had taken place during the pandemic to spotlight the inequalities faced by the communities of Greater Manchester and uncover the potential for health and care research to make a difference for the future.


The vibrant discussion in the room helped to highlight some of the challenges we face and need to urgently address to ensure those communities most in need can engage with researchers and be part of the discussion about their needs.    



The key messages from the workshop were:

  • The allocation of resources are key to tackling inequalities - the VCSE sector need resources and investment to support communities trapped in poverty. More needs to be done by larger organisations to reach out and make resources available to smaller groups and upskill community groups to work together.  
  • Effective partnerships need time and recognition of organisational strengths – partnerships that are built on shared values and evident through trusted interactions can create long-term relationships. The VCSE sector has extensive expertise in working on the ground with people facing the greatest needs and research organisations have much to learn from them on effective and culturally sensitive approaches.
  • Communication in accessible formats is needed – research needs to be accessible and understandable for everyone. There is lack of awareness about the research being undertaken in communities with poorly designed resources that are not accessible due to the language used or the format in which the are delivered.
  • To understand and tackle inequalities researchers need to go to the heart of communities – culturally appropriate events/workshops are needed to engage with communities in a meaningful way with communities part of the design of the process. Together we need to particularly acknowledge and understand variation within regions and local areas to understand how inequalities are impacting neighbourhoods. Capturing the full extent of this diversity will help finds solutions that work for the whole community.    


A full report from the workshop is available here.


























The research organisations in Greater Manchester have committed to work together to strengthen the way we work to create sustainable networks with VCSE colleagues and community groups that have mutual benefit and will support the participation of those currently mostly excluded from taking part in health and care research.


To support this, Greater Manchester has been awarded funding by NHS England to further develop understanding of how research engagement networks within Integrated Care Systems can be created, enhanced and sustained. Information on this programme is available here.


The aim being to:-

  1. Co-produce improved approaches for creative engagement and communication in partnership with VCSE organisations to build trust with communities currently more excluded from research.
  2. Develop an improved network wide system for monitoring and evaluating diverse and inclusive involvement and participation in research within specific areas and communities in our region where inequalities are most evident.



Only in working together will we be able to put the voices of those most in need at the heart of our research to tackle health and care inequalities.    




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The 2022 NIHR ARC-GM Student Showcase



ARC-GM PhD Students, Pre-doctoral Fellows and Interns presented their achievements at last year’s Student and Intern Showcase. Staff and colleagues from our partner trusts came together on 29th November 2022 in a remote session to celebrate the learning and impact of their training with ARC-GM. 


ARC-GM aims to support and fund health and social care professionals from NHS and care partner organisations, who want to develop their research skills, ideas and initiatives. The team is committed to supporting the development of outstanding researchers wishing to conduct applied research that has the potential to deliver an impact on patients, public and policy regionally and nationally.


The event was well attended by academics across the ARC-GM portfolio and colleagues from partner health and care organisations; we were delighted that so many of our students were able to take part and showcase their impressive achievements. 


Prof. Michelle Briggs, Lead for Training and Development at ARC-GM said: 


“It was fantastic to hear the ARC-GM Interns, Pre-doctoral and PhD Fellows present about their research journeys. I’m impressed at the progress and impact they have all made; they should be proud of their accomplishments.  Over the next few months I’m really looking forward to learning more about how the Interns and Pre-doctoral Fellows, in particular, build on their new research skills as part of their clinical practice with their associated health and care providers.”


PhD Student, Mia Bennion commented on the day: 


“It was great to hear about everyone's research projects, particularly people's reflections on their experiences throughout the research process. It's clear there's so much valuable work that's taking place. I'm so grateful to have received a prize for my presentation at the showcase!”


Prizes were awarded for the following categories:


PhD Student presentation


Pre-doctoral Fellow poster 


Research Internship poster


All of the posters and presentations from our 2022 showcase can be viewed here. 


You can find out about all our training and development work and opportunities from here. 


Published 03/03/2022

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NHS programme linked to 20% reduction in risk of Diabetes


An NHS behaviour-change programme has been linked to a significant reduction in the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in adults with raised blood sugars.


The analysis, carried out by University of Manchester researchers shows that when controlling for the characteristics of participants, the risk of Diabetes progression was 20% lower in people with pre-diabetes referred to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP) when compared to similar patients not referred to NDPP.


The study, funded by the National Institue for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Health and Social Care Delivery Research, and hosted by Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust,  is published today in the journal PLoS Medicine (28/02/23).


The NHS Healthier You Diabetes Prevention Programme in England is offered  to non-diabetic adults with raised blood sugars  – or pre-diabetes - providing exercise and dietary advice to help reduce people’s risk of developing the disease.


Across the 2,209 GP practices for which the researchers had data, over 700,000 people were identified with pre-diabetes and around 100,000 had a code in their health records indicating they were referred to the programme.18,470 patients referred to NDPP were matched to 51,331 similar patients not referred to NDPP.


The probability of converting to Type 2 Diabetes at 36 months after referral was 12.7% for those referred to the NDPP and 15.4% for those not referred to the NDPP. Using a figure of 1000 people referred to NDPP and 1000 not referred to NDPP, by 36 months after referral, the team calculate they would expect 127 conversions to Type 2 diabetes in the group referred to the programme and 154 in the group not referred.


The mechanism for the difference is likely to be through weight reduction, with previous work showing that people who attended the NHS DPP were associated with a significant reduction in weight  - the key factor in reducing risk - of 2.3 kg on average.


In addition, prior work also showed levels of HbA1c -  the average blood sugar levels for the previous  two to three months - reduced by a significant 1.26 mmol/mol.


Most of previous trial results have shown that weight loss is the key factor in reducing risk of the disease; increased BMI was also a key factor.


Dr Rathi Ravindrarajah from The University of Manchester and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) said:


“Our findings show that the NDPP appears to be successful in reducing the progression from non-diabetic hyperglycaemia to Type 2 Diabetes. Even though we were only able to examine referral to the programme, rather than attendance or completion, it still showed a significant reduction in risk of 20%.  That suggests the decision to implement programme quickly and at scale in England was the right one, and as the results are reproducible, it also supports the continuation of similar programmes to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.”



Professor Evangelos Kontopantelis from The University Manchester and NIHR ARC-GM  said:

“Type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern which has been rising globally, with over 3 million people in the UK currently diagnosed with it. Previous studies have shown that both lifestyle modifications through diet and physical activity and medication can prevent progression to this condition. This study is good news for the Healthier You Diabetes Prevention Programme which we show beyond doubt is a powerful way to protect your health.”



Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: 


“The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has seen promising results with a 20% reduction of risk to those taking part developing Type 2 Diabetes, empowering people suffering with pre-diabetes to take control of their own health. Type 2 Diabetes costs the NHS around £10 billion a year, but this evidence-based programme is an example of how we can help people make lifestyle changes to prevent the disease progressing, whilst ensuring value for the taxpayer.”



NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, Professor Jonathan Valabhji, said:


“This important study is further evidence that the NHS is preventing type 2 diabetes and helping hundreds of thousands of people across England to lead healthier lives. We completed roll out of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in 2018, and now over 1.2m people have been offered support with lifestyle changes including better quality nutrition, weight loss, and increased physical activity, which this study shows is preventing development of this life-changing condition. You can easily check your risk through the Diabetes UK ‘Know Your Risk’ tool.”



The paper Referral to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and conversion from non-diabetic hyperglycaemia to type-2 diabetes mellitus in England: a matched cohort analysis is available:


published 28/02/23


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Care Home Workers’ Views on Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Hand Hygiene Training


New research on exploring Care Home Workers’ Views on Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Hand Hygiene Training has been published in Health & Social Care in the Community.


Led by Norina Gasteiger, as part of her National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) funded PhD study at The University of Manchester, this qualitative realist study interviewed 25 care home staff from 6 different care homes, to look at how, and in what contexts care home workers think augmented reality and virtual reality training delivered via smartphone apps might work in promoting hand hygiene practice. The team were also interested in exploring how the training could be implemented and maintained in the future.


The study found that care home staff:


  • All agreed that novice carers would especially benefit from augmented reality or virtual reality hand hygiene training.
  • Believed that feedback and reminding, repeated practice, and interactive learning could be triggered by augmented reality and virtual reality training.
  • Expected that the training could help to improve their hand hygiene technique and awareness about how infections spread.
  • Emphasised that hand hygiene interventions may not work for everyone equally and are context-dependent.


Care home staff also highlighted differences between care homes and learners, regarding policies on further training/development, preferences, and comfort with technology.


Norina Gasteiger, lead author, comments:


“This work highlights an opportunity for using augmented and virtual reality technologies for hand hygiene training in care homes.


Carers and managers gave us important insights on how the training could be implemented and what it is about the technologies that might make them effective as training tools. In the next step of the project, we will work closely with care home managers to decide which technology best suits their care home and to test the feasibility of the training.”


The full paper in Health & Social Care in the Community, is open access and freely available:


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NIHR ARC-GM Stakeholder Event 2023

Event: Event

Date: 23rd March 2023

Time: 09:30 - 15:30

The purpose of the event is to showcase some of the work of ARC-GM so far and to help us to plan our future research

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Cross-ARC National Health Economics Showcase Event

Event: Event

Date: 14th March 2023

Time: 09:00-16:00

Hosted by NIHR ARC Yorkshire and Humber in partnership with ARC Greater Manchester, this national event will bring together Health Economic themes to showcase their projects and research, share and exchange good practice and promote cross ARC working.


The event will cover a range of topics, including the use of routine data, challenges using economic evidence with local decision makers and capturing outcomes for cross sectorial working.


The event is free to attend.


We welcome attendees from:


  • ARC Health Economic themes
  • Health Economists working within other ARC themes
  • Wider ARC partners


The event will be held at the University of Sheffield. The joining instructions for the event, along with the final programme, will be sent out closer to the event.


If you have any questions about this event, please get in touch with NIHR ARC Health Economics theme:

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ARC-GM Internal Seminar Series: Mental Health Theme

Event: Seminar

Date: 08th March 2023

Time: 12.00-1.00pm

  • Overview of the Mental Health Theme, Karina Lovell.
  • Presentations on current research – details TBC
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A new rapid review finds that a number of interventions may reduce hospital outpatient no-shows


Outpatient no-shows have important implications for costs and the quality of care in the NHS. In 2019/2020, there were over five million outpatient no-shows across the NHS in the United Kingdom, with an estimated annual cost as high as £750 million.


Predictive models could be used to identify scheduled appointments that are at high risk of no-show. Healthcare staff could then intervene in a targeted manner, to reduce the risk that these appointments will be missed.


Researchers from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) and The University of Manchester have undertaken a review of interventions aiming to reduce outpatient no-shows by using predictive models. The researchers examined the effectiveness of these interventions, as well as the associated costs, acceptability to staff and patients, and effect on health inequities.


The review found that several promising interventions can be used in combination with predictive models. Specifically, predictive model-based reminders and predictive model-based patient navigator phone calls are probably effective at reducing no-shows.  However, it is uncertain whether predictive model-based overbooking is effective.


Additionally, the researchers concluded that more evidence is needed regarding the cost-effectiveness, acceptability, and equity of all identified interventions.


Dr Theodora Oikonomidi, Research Associate at the University of Manchester and NIHR ARC-GM, who led the review,


“this review is timely, as an increasing number of health care organisations turn to using predictive models to manage outpatient appointments, in hopes that this technology will help to manage the appointment backlog created due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”



The full findings of this work have been published in Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association:


NIHR ARC-GM are also working in collaboration with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust as they implement an integrated and innovative Electronic Patient Record (EPR) solution called Hive.


We are looking to describe how a predictive model within Hive that supports the identification of patients who are likely to not attend their outpatient appointment can be used to help staff manage outpatient no-shows in the trust. More information about this research can be found here.


published 11/01/2023

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Digital Health Inequities Seminar Series:Equity-Focused Implementation of Virtual Primary Health Care: Key Insights and Future Directions from Canada

Event: Seminar

Date: 08th February 2023

Time: 1-2pm

Dr Jay Shaw & Simone Shahid (UofT) - Equity-Focused Implementation of Virtual Primary Health Care: Key Insights and Future Directions from Canada.

A monthly seminar on topics relevant to digital health inequities held every second Wednesday of the month.

Please contact if you would like to receive seminar details.

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Novartis UK launch Implementation Science video series


NIHR ARC-GM Lead for Implementation Science and University of Manchester Senior Lecturer, Paul Wilson shares the screen with experts on Implementation Science from across the healthcare landscape.


This includes Dr Samantha Dixon (Global Head of Implementation Science at Novartis), Dr Tracey Vell MBE (Medical Executive at GMHSCP and Medical Director at Health Innovation Manchester), and Piers Ricketts (Chief Executive of the Eastern Academic Health Science Network).


Over the course of five episodes, the expert panel will seek to bring the concept of Implementation Science to life, through real-world insight. We delve into the details of this approach, the key components required for success and the essential need for a collaborative and partnership-based approach, which sees local systems (including health, social care and public services) working together.


Paul Wilson (NIHR ARC-GM Implmentation Science Lead and University of Manchester Senior Lecturer),


“It was a pleasure to be involved with these panel discussions from experts across the health and care system, to discuss the importance and application of implementation science to aid the systematic uptake of evidence-based products, practices and polices into routine clinical practice.”


  • Episode One: Implementation Science… What is it?


  • Episode Two: Implementation Science... What does the science say?


  • Episode Three: Implementation Science... What role can industry play


  • Episode Four: Implementation Science... Systemic solutions for the future


  • Episode Five: Implementation Science... How it works in practice



The video series can be accessed from the Novartis UK dedicated Implementation Science web pages

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“I don’t do anything”: It’s time to place more emphasis on strength training in later life


Since 2011, the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs) guidelines on physical activity have included strength recommendations. However, there is limited evidence that these recommendations are getting through to those who need them.


In this Policy@Mancester blog, Dr Ashley Gluchowski, from our NIHR ARC-GM Healthy Ageing team, outlines how older adults are engaging with the guidelines, and whether more can be done by public health officials and local authorities to remove barriers to activity.


  • Less than half of 50 – 74-year-olds in England are meeting the strength recommendations.
  • There is a lack of detail and options in the CMOs’ guidance around what constitutes strength training, and how intensely it should occur
  • Older adults also report a lack of ability-appropriate classes, as well as a lack of strength training encouragement from healthcare professionals


One in three older adults in the UK are classed as inactive, while one in six deaths are linked to physical inactivity. As our population ages – with 25% expected to be over 65 by 2050 – the impact of inactivity on older people’s health, social and mental wellbeing, and quality of life will increase, as will the burden placed on healthcare systems...


You can access the full blog from the Policy@Manchester site here.


You can read more about this research from the "Exploring the evidence-based underpinning of strength prescription for people aged 65 years and older in the UK" webpage


published 28th November 2022

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New research highlights the unequal impact that deprivation has on COVID-19 deaths in the North of England


New evidence just published in the leading scientific journal Health and Place has found that while COVID-19 death rates were consistently higher in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage across the country, they were even higher in deprived areas of the North.


The research shows that those living in the most deprived communities in the North of England shouldered the greatest burden from COVID-19.


There was evidence of an association between COVID-19 deaths and area-level deprivation – but the impacts of deprivation on deaths was higher in the North: the researchers call this the ‘deprivation amplification’. 


The most deprived local areas in the North had 14.5% more deaths per 10,000 than those in equally deprived areas in the rest of England.


This latest research was jointly undertaken by Dr Luke Munford and Sam Khavandi from the University of Manchester and  ourselves the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM), and Professor Clare Bambra from Newcastle University and NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria.


Lead author on the study, Dr Luke Munford, Senior Lecturer of Economics from the University of Manchester and NIHR ARC-GM Deputy Lead for Economic Sustainability, said:


“Our research provides clear evidence that those living in the most deprived communities in the North of England shouldered the greatest burden from COVID-19.” 



Co-author Prof. Clare Bambra, Inequalities Lead for the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria added:


“Our research shows that COVID-19 is an unequal pandemic. People in the most deprived communities in the North have been most impacted with higher deaths. The government’s Levelling Up agenda needs to be revitalised if it is to reduce regional health inequalities.”



Commenting on the research, Hannah Davies of the Northern Health Sciences Alliance stated:


“This alarming and important research shows just how important the levelling up agenda is if we are to tackle the deep inequalities which undermine the fabric of our society.

“The government must take place-based action to improve health outcomes otherwise we risk undermining the health and wealth of the whole country.”



The findings add to a growing body of evidence of an unequal pandemic resulting from inequalities that are caused by the social factors that influence health – including housing conditions, employment and access to good-quality health care.


Across the country, COVID-19 exacerbated existing health inequalities, with the brunt of deaths experienced in socially disadvantaged communities. Reducing these inequalities requires long-term national action.


The COVID-19 pandemic took place against a backdrop of social and economic inequalities.


The authors’ previous research had already identified significant regional inequalities with high rates of COVID-19 deaths in the north regions.


However, this new research shows that there was an amplification of the effects of deprivation on COVID-19 deaths in the most deprived areas of the North.



Read the full research paper:



More about the study:

Researchers analysed official data of COVID-19 death rates from March 2020 to April 2021 by local area (Middle Super Output Areas - MSOAs) to understand the relationship between deprivation, region and COVID-19 mortality rates.


They found that across England, the most deprived 20% of local areas had higher mortality than the least deprived (44.1% more COVID-19 deaths/10,000). However, the most deprived local areas in the North (Yorkshire and Humber, North West and North East) fared worse than equally deprived areas in the rest of England (14.5% more deaths/10,000 in the Northern deprived areas). 


There was evidence of an association between COVID-19 deaths and area-level deprivation – but the impacts of deprivation on deaths was higher in the North: the researchers call this the ‘deprivation amplification’. 


Understanding the relationship between COVID-19 mortality rates and deprivation is complex.


Deprivation is affected by wider social determinants of health such as housing, working conditions, unemployment, healthcare access etc. This can cause higher exposure to the virus, for example people in low-income jobs are less amenable to remote working so employees were less able to benefit from local lockdown restrictions and working from home. Self-isolation is also harder in overcrowded housing and densely populated areas.  In addition, people living in more deprived areas of the North have higher clinical risk factors (such as underlying health conditions like heart disease or diabetes)



Further information:

This research was carried out as part of the Health Inequalities national priority topic area of the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARC) and was led by NIHR ARC Greater Manchester and ARC North East and North Cumbria.


Find out more here: Inequalities and marginalised communities - ARC (


Published 22nd November 2022

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Health inequalities and regional productivity


The health of those living in the north is worse than those living in the south, and this inequality is reflected in the comparative economic performance as well. The regional inequality in economic performance is prominent throughout the United Kingdom. In this blog, Dr Luke Munford (NIHR ARC-GM Deputy Lead for Economic Sustainability) and Professor Clare Bambra explore the links between health inequalities and economic inequalities across the UK.


They also consider the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on health and economic performance. Considering an array of variables, they suggest investing in place-based public health, a more holistic approach to improve outcomes in the labour market and promoting health and prevention services across care systems.


  • Health is an important pre-requisite for economic performance, and therefore, a stronger focus on health must be adopted in order to ‘Level Up’.
  • The north experiences lower levels of economic activity rates, implying higher rates of unemployment and economic inactivity.
  • Over the last 50 years, over 1.5 million northerners died earlier than if they had experienced the same lifetime health chances as those in the rest of England.
  • The central government can focus on mitigating health inequalities by investing in place-based public health, improving labour market participation and job retention, increasing NHS funding in the north, implanting an inclusive, green industrial strategy, and developing health promotion and prevention services.


The renewed effort to ‘Level Up’ England is essential, as there are deep-rooted and persistent regional inequalities. People living in the north of England typically perform less well than those living in the rest of England on many important metrics...


You can access the full blog from the Policy@Manchester site here.


Published 18th November 2022

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COVID-19 lockdown was associated with fewer physically active older adults, a recent paper shows


Researchers from NIHR ARC-GM and The University of Manchester have published a paper in BMC Public Health which identifies that the proportion of older adults realising the recommended levels of physical activity decreased from 43% in September 2020 to 33% in January 2021 during the third COVID-19 lockdown


The impact of COVID-19 lockdown on physical activity trends and changes in exercise patterns project, as part of NIHR ARC-GM Healthy Ageing and Economic Sustainability themes, used a sample of 3,660 older adults (aged ≥ 65) who took part in the UK Household Longitudinal Study’s annual and COVID-19 studies.


The researchers examined trends in the proportion of older individuals who were physically active both before and after the government-imposed lockdown in March 2020.


Activity levels remained about the same as pre-pandemic during the first lockdown, but there was a decline in activity between September 2020 and January 2021 with those least active before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic becoming more active and those more active became less during the second lockdown.


Jack Elliott, Research Associate in our Economic Sustainability Theme, who led the analysis, said:  


"The long-term risks to older adults' health outcomes resulting from lockdown-related inactivity are concerning. To counteract these risks, government officials, health experts, and media professionals need to encourage the uptake of physical activity. In particular, the promotion of activities with reduced risk of COVID-19 infection, such as home workouts, should be targeted at those particularly vulnerable to infection or those wanting to take extra precautions."



The research team concluded that whilst the restrictions helped control the spread of COVID-19, they have also likely had adverse effects on population health including deconditioning from reduced activity levels. Resources are required to promote the uptake of physical activity and help older adults regain pre-pandemic activity levels to counteract the potential long-term health effects.


Dr Luke Munford, Deputy Lead of our Economic Sustainability theme, who also co-authored the paper, commented:


“We know that it is really important to keep people physically active as it has been shown to improve quality of life and mental well-being. We show here that the lockdowns associated with the pandemic led to reductions in levels of physical activity and we need urgent action to reverse these trends.”



Read the paper in full:  Elliott, J., Munford, L., Ahmed, S. et al. The impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on physical activity amongst older adults: evidence from longitudinal data in the UK. BMC Public Health 22, 1802 (2022).



Published 18/10/22

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New funding to strengthen regional infrastructure for public involvement in research in Greater Manchester


The Public Involvement leads from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) infrastructure across Greater Manchester have successfully been awarded £10k from NIHR to support, learn from and strengthen regional infrastructure for involvement, engagement, and participation in health and care research.


The proposal has been co-developed with members of the Greater Manchester VCSE Leadership Group, which represents the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector across Greater Manchester. The work is being progressed by the Greater Manchester VCSE Population Health Group, which is co-chaired by Charles Kwaku-Odoi of Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN), as a first point of contact.


This builds on previous engagement with the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO), Healthwatch Manchester and Macc (Manchester Community Central).


The £10,000 funding will be devoted to strengthening strategic and operational relationships for patient and public involvement between the Greater Manchester VCSE sector and the NIHR research infrastructure.



Dr. Bella Starling (Director of Vocal)


"Greater Manchester is a vibrant and varied region, rich in community life, heritage, science and culture. It's vital that we work together across all these sectors to produce the best health research, most relevant to the needs of our population”.



There will be a focus on co-creating a programme of partnership approaches based on the needs of Greater Manchester communities, to maximise collaboration across health and social care research activity. All parts of the local infrastructure will be coming together to map and learn from existing areas of good practice, strengthening existing and forming new relationships and networks.


The new funding from NIHR, will help to provide a platform to bring together the Greater Manchester VCSE sector and the local NIHR public involvement and engagement infrastructure co-create an action plan to cement better partnership working between Greater Manchester health and care research teams and VCSE organisations.



Charles Kwaku-Odoi, (Chief Officer of CAHN)


“The Greater Manchester VCSE Leadership Group which represents over 17,000 organisations across the region is delighted to be collaborating with academic partners to ensure that the lived experience of local people influence and shape research now and in the future. The excellent world-leading research undertaken in Greater Manchester must benefit local residents, and that is why there is overwhelming support for this co-produced collaboration”.



Prof. Caroline Sanders, (ARC-GM Lead for Patient & Community Involvement and Engagement and Professor of Medical Sociology at The University of Manchester),


“The VCSE sector has been especially pro-active in tackling new challenges and worsening health inequalities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding enables us to strengthen our partnerships and shared goals, especially to address health inequalities going forward with community voices at the heart of research and action.



More information about all of the Greater Manchester NIHR Public Involvement & Engagement infrastructure can be accessed from the websites below.:



Published 12th October 2022

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NIHR ARC Implementation Workshop 4

Event: Workshop

Date: 16th January 2023

Time: 14:00-16:00

This workshop will be hosted by Caroline Watkins from ARC North West Coast

Facilitating implementation through implementation research is one of the core functions of the ARCs. Implementation leads across the ARCs welcome the opportunity for informed discussions among those involved in implementation practice, research and funding around some key issues that would benefit from a coherent approach. To that end, we are organising a series of linked two-hour virtual roundtable events later this year. Each one will involve two short presentations to stimulate discussion, leading to the development of recommendations which will be collated from all four events to inform future ARC plans and strategies.

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Study links devolution in Greater Manchester to modest improvement in life expectancy


The devolution deal which granted Greater Manchester increased control over a range of public services, including  health and social care, has been linked to a positive impact on life expectancy in a study by University of Manchester researchers.


The Health Foundation funded study also showed the benefits linked to devolution on life expectancy were felt in the most deprived local authorities where there was poorer health, suggesting a narrowing of inequality.


The study, published in The Lancet Public Health (showed that between 2014/16 and 2017/19):


  • Life expectancy was 0.2 years higher in Greater Manchester compared to a comparable control group from the rest of England. The change in Greater Manchester  was 2·2 times larger than the average change in life expectancy over the same period.


  • The change persisted throughout the period after the devolution deal  and was larger for men (0.34 years) than for women (0·06 years).


  • Statistically significant increases in life expectancy were observed in eight out of the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester, with the exceptions of Rochdale (decrease) and Oldham (no change).


  • In the short-term, life expectancy remained constant in Greater Manchester but declined in comparable areas in England. In the longer-term, life expectancy increased at a faster rate in Greater Manchester than in the rest of the country.


  • Improvements in life expectancy were larger in the local authorities with the worst levels of income deprivation and lowest life expectancy prior to devolution, when compared to areas with equally high deprivation and low life expectancy in the rest of England.


The improvements, say the researchers, may have been a result of a combination of changes in response to the devolution deals in the region, including the health and social care devolution agreement, the devolution of powers over wider determinants of health (such as housing, employment, transport, adult education, policing, and economic development), and the election of a Greater Manchester mayor.


The study, which is the first of first kind, estimated the impact of devolution on the population stratified by sex, local authority, income deprivation, and life expectancy compared to the rest of England, excluding London.


The researchers used local authority data on life expectancy at birth published by the Office for National Statistics between 2006 and 2019 to calculate the relationship.


Lead author Dr Philip Britteon Research Fellow at The University of Manchester said:


“We provide the first robust evidence on the impact of devolution in England on population health, focusing on changes occurring in Greater Manchester.


“The study shows modest improvements in life expectancy in Greater Manchester compared to comparable areas in the rest of the country from the introduction of devolution until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, using a robust statistical method.


“This finding may have been driven by combination of changes in response to the health and social care devolution agreement, the devolution of powers over wider public services, the election of a new mayor, or earlier steps to improve population health prior to devolution.


"The findings support the suggestion that devolved systems are able to more closely identify and address the needs of local populations. However, further research is required to understand the mechanisms behind the estimated effect.”



Co-author Professor Matt Sutton from The University of Manchester and Deputy Director of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) said:


“In Greater Manchester many more people die younger than in most other parts of the UK; many others suffer more from serious diseases.


“However, this study has shown that devolution in Greater Manchester could improve things for the better.”



Following devolution, the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP) - now part of NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care)was established to set strategy and oversee its delivery, including the delivery of Taking Charge, the region’s five year plan.


And also part of the health and social care devolution settlement, NHS England granted the region control of its share of the national sustainability and transformation fund.


The GMHSCP policy priorities also formed components of The Greater Manchester Strategy; a plan produced by Greater Manchester Combined Authority on behalf of Greater Manchester partners, to transform and integrate public services within the conurbation.


Co-author Dr Yiu-Shing Lau from The University of Manchester said:


“These findings may provide clues to the potential success or failure of Integrated Care Systems in England.


“However, there are key differences that should be considered when drawing comparisons between the setup of the GMHSCP and the organisation of Integrated Care Systems outlined in the Health and Care Act 2022.


“Similar improvements in population health may not be replicated in Integrated Care Systems without a comprehensive representation of councils on their board.


“The success of future devolution reforms may therefore depend on other factors beyond the types and strength of powers devolved to a health system, including the extent to which health and wider public services are aligned.


“Future research will seek to further investigate the findings of the study by evaluating the impact of devolution on a range of outcome measures and investigating the activities in Greater Manchester that may have contributed to the observed change in life expectancy”



The full paper, The Impact of Devolution on Health: A Synthetic Control Analysis of Greater Manchester in England, published in The Lancet Public Health is available here.


Published 29th Sep 2022

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2022/23 Internship Programme Applications now open!


The NIHR ARC-GM is pleased to announce that our 2022/23 Internship Programme is now open for applications.


The NIHR ARC-GM Internship Programme provides health and social care professionals in Greater Manchester the opportunity to spend 30 days over a 4-9 month period with our research teams. The programme presents a fantastic opportunity to gain insights into research, enhance existing skills and develop new ones.


Prof. Michelle Briggs, (Clinical Professor of Nursing at The University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and Clinical NIHR ARC-GM Capacity Building Lead) said: 


 “Our Internship Programme provides a supported experience working alongside NIHR ARC-GM researchers; it also benefits from the established relationships that NIHR ARC-GM has with all the universities in Greater Manchester and the wider organisations committed to encouraging confidence and competence in research.


The Internship Programme provides a firm foundation for health and social care professionals who are interested in developing an academic career combined with working in the health and care environment.“


The programme is based at The University of Manchester. It has been designed to be flexible and inclusive; applicants from diverse backgrounds, social care and public health disciplines are particularly encouraged to apply.


Laura McGarrigle, who completed the Internship Programme in 2021/22 and is now undertaking a Pre-doctoral Fellowship with NIHR ARC-GM, commented:


“I would highly recommend this internship to anyone in the department keen to develop their research skills and ideas. I feel much more confident, competent and able to see how I can keep going with the path of research alongside a clinical career.”


You can read more about the experiences of the 2021/22 cohort of interns from here



Online Question & Answer Sessions for applicants:


Deadline for applications:

  • 11th November at 5pm


Start date:

  • January 2023


Further information about the internships and details of how to apply are available here.



Published 26/09/2022

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Free immersive show comes to Stockport and Salford raising awareness of challenges faced by young people struggling with their mental health


After a successful first performance at the Royal Northern College of Music, an immersive show that aims to highlight the challenges faced by young people who struggle with their mental health is going on tour across the North West.


The new dates are Wednesday 19 October at The Forum Theatre in Romiley, Stockport, and Thursday 10 November at The Lowry Theatre, Salford, and further performances will follow in early 2023.


The performance has been created by two National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) centres, ourselves at ARC-GM, and the Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (GM PSTRC).


Ten young people from diverse backgrounds worked with researchers and not-for-profit organisation Made by Mortals to create a performance that encourages audience members to walk in the shoes of a fictional character, Adam. They recorded a podcast which is combined with a live performance to create the show.


Adam is 18 years old and transitioning from children’s mental health services to adults. Immersive sound and live action combine to give a real sense of what it’s like to be Adam. Audience members are encouraged to wear an eye mask to heighten the experience. A trailer has been created to give an insight into what it’s like to attend a performance -


One of the young people involved in the performance, said


“All of us involved have different ethnicities, ages, genders, and backgrounds. It really helped when we were creating the characters, and all of the details around their lives, because we all had such a range of experiences from our real lives that we could draw on due to the differences in our cultures and unique backgrounds. For example, we decided on the name Adam as it was ethnically ambiguous, so anyone could listen to the podcast and relate to it, because we didn’t want anyone to feel limited and as though it couldn’t be applied to them.”


An actor plays the part of Adam’s mental health support worker, Shaun. He helps to guide the audience through the story and suggests they remove their eye masks at key points during the performance. Shaun speaks about his experiences of working with Adam. The script for this was created by working alongside parents and carers with lived experience of mental health services. Shaun speaks about his relationship with Adam, the support he is able to offer and how that is changing now that Adam has turned 18.


Prof. Karina Lovell, lead for Mental Health at ARC-GM and Professor of Mental Health at the University of Manchester, said:


“We believe the podcast that’s been created with young people and Made by Mortals gives an accurate portrayal of the challenges faced by young people struggling with their mental health. It’s a powerful performance and we hope it makes a difference to not only the people who come along to the live performance, but to those who read the resource we’ll be creating on the day.”


Shaun also highlights how the music, which was co-created by the young people involved, reflected the story. This included an eclectic mix of instrumentation representing the cultural heritage of the young co-creators, and Adam’s dialogue being transformed into beautifully lyrical melodies performed live by a violinist.


Paul Hine, Director at Made by Mortals, said:


“Coproduction is at the heart of this project and it’s this that helps us to create a sense of what it’s really like for young people struggling with their mental health. We are keen for as many people as possible to experience the performance and encourage anyone interested to register for tickets.”


The performance will be followed by an interactive session where audience members are encouraged to ask questions about the show to encourage discussion.  


One of the researchers, Dr Leah Quinlivan, who leads mental health research at the GM PSTRC, said:


“An important theme of our work is mental health and this includes developing interventions for adults as well as young people. We are therefore, delighted to be involved in this project, as it has the ability to reach a diverse audience and make a difference to young people struggling with their mental health.”


Further information and details of how to book tickets for the upcoming performances at The Forum Theatre in Romiley, and The Lowry in Salford can be found here -


Published 26/09/2022

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Study suggests A&E staff give lower priority to patients from deprived areas


Healthcare professionals may be unconsciously assigning lower clinical priority to patients from poorer areas compared to patients who live in more affluent areas, a study of English Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments by The University of Manchester and ourselves, as the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) has suggested.


The findings, published in the Journal of Health Economics are the first to show evidence of income-related inequalities in access to timely and appropriate emergency care in England.


Using national data on patients arriving by ambulance at all major English A&E departments during 2016/17, the researchers compared waiting times, treatments, and health outcomes for patients.


They found that patients from more deprived areas waited longer to receive treatment, and received less complex treatment than those from more affluent areas, even when presenting with the same health conditions and at the same hospital.


Though the inequalities in waits were small for an individual patient (2.2% increase in waiting time for the start of treatment), the differences were systematic and represent a substantial amount of delay at the population level.


Patients from deprived areas were also less likely to be admitted to hospital (2% less) and less likely to be referred on for follow-up care (7% less).


Previous research has found patients from more deprived areas also wait longer for planned operations such as knee replacements despite having the same level of need for treatment, but this is the first study to look at waiting times for emergency care.


The observed inequalities were present even when A&E departments were less crowded, indicating that inequalities aren’t concentrated in periods when staff are under greater time pressure. It is possible, say the researchers, that unconscious bias is the reason that lower priority is given to patients from deprived areas.


Waiting times are likely to be more important in an A&E setting, where the severity of conditions may have very serious health consequences for patients, and prioritisation decisions must be made quickly. This pressure may also lead to higher fear of litigation, which could subconsciously affect how doctors interact with some patients.


Patients from the most deprived areas, who are more likely to have underlying health conditions, accounted for more than twice as many attendances as those from the least deprived areas, and were equally or more severe on arrival, despite being younger on average.


But inequalities in timely and appropriate care in A&E may also exacerbate these existing health inequalities, with patients from the most deprived areas almost 6% more likely to attend A&E again within 7 days and almost 5% more likely to die within 30 days, compared to the least deprived.


Lead author Dr Alex Turner from The University of Manchester said:


“Our results suggest the NHS principle of “equal access for equal need” is not being upheld in English Emergency Departments.


“Adding to evidence from previous studies that patients from more deprived areas wait longer for planned operations, we find these patients also wait longer for care in A&E where extended waits are more likely to have severe consequences for health”


“And though the magnitudes of inequalities are smaller in an A&E setting than in planned care, we also found patients from deprived areas were substantially more likely to choose to leave without treatment while waiting in A&E.


“Not only do patients from more deprived areas receive less timely care, they also receive different care, with physicians less likely to provide these patients with complex care within the A&E and less likely to refer them for subsequent care.”



Co-author Dr Ruth Watkinson from The University of Manchester and our own  NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) Economic Sustainabiluty team


“We find evidence that suggests patient-staff interactions, and particularly unconscious bias towards patients from deprived areas, may contribute to unfair inequalities in A&E. Policies designed to improve these interactions should be prioritised.


“Inequalities in mortality following A&E attendance suggest the healthcare system may be exacerbating already-entrenched inequalities.


“Addressing this is especially important given reducing health inequalities is a key priority for the NHS.”



The full findings are avilable from the Journal of Health Economics:



This news story was published 22/08/2022 



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New funding for Dementia research within ARC Greater Manchester from NIHR in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Society


ARC Greater Manchester is offering three career development awards for dementia research, as part of a national NIHR initiative to support promising early career researchers in dementia and to build up their number and skills across the NIHR family.


The ARC funding, provided by NIHR in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Society, is supporting a cohort of post-doctoral health and care researchers toward independence, developing their skills to establish their own research projects, programmes and ultimately groups.


Prof. John Keady, Professor of Older Peoples Mental Health at the University of Manchester and Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said:


“It is a great honour to be part of this NIHR Applied Research Collaborations and Alzheimer’s Society initiative aimed at strengthening post-doctoral health and care research in dementia. Our specific Fellowship will span health and social care and look to build a lasting legacy in creative practices that values and promotes the contribution of people living with dementia in Greater Manchester and beyond.”


We are offering career development awards for the following projects:


  • Project 1: Everyday aesthetics and the intersection of arts and health. This fellowship project will use a participatory approach to develop, deliver, and evaluate an individually tailored, multi-arts social intervention with people with dementia living at home. With its ‘at-home,’ community focus, this project will provide new forms of sensory and embodied knowledge and understanding and will look to measure the arts-informed engagement at multiple time-points across the trajectory of the social intervention.


  • Project 2: Digital technologies for falls prevention for people with dementia. The Keep On Keep Up (KOKU) digital exercise programme supports older people to engage with simple, effective, evidence-based falls prevention exercises. KOKU is currently being modified for people with dementia and has been successfully tested with four care providers to enable people living at home with regular support visits to remain independent. This fellowship project will build on this work with intervention modification and a feasibility RCT.


  • Project 3: Dementia and palliative/end-of-life care. This study will build on on-going work by the EMBED-Care study team by exploring the potential for more integrated models of end-of-life care and knowledge exchange between hospices, health and care services and local authorities within Greater Manchester. This will comprise: i) a systematic review of research on integrated models of end-of-life care; ii) a mapping exercise to explore different types of integrated models of; and iii) qualitative interviews with key stakeholders in Greater Manchester.


Prof. Chris Todd, Professor of Primary Care and Community Health at The University of Manchester, Director of the NIHR Older People and Frailty Policy Research Unit, and our ARC-GM Lead for Healthy Ageing, said:


“I am delighted that we are hosting these Fellowships. They will help us achieve our goal of enabling people living with dementia to live longer, healthier, more fulfilling and socially connected lives in safe environments.  They will also help us to train the future research leaders in this important and all too often overlooked area”.


Dr Emma Vardy, Consultant Geriatrician at The Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, Honorary Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester and our ARC-GM Deputy Lead for Healthy Ageing, said:


“People with dementia were particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic including the effects of isolation, deconditioning and hence increased risks of falls. Falls prevention has been identified as a priority for the health and social care system in Greater Manchester and so we are particularly pleased that one of the fellowships will focus on using digital technologies to prevent falls in people with dementia, ensuring that people with dementia will not miss out on potential benefits that these technologies may offer”.


Information about all the awards available across the ARCs is available on the ARC Wessex website.


Published 12th August 2022

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Pulse oximeters may overestimate blood oxygen saturation for people with high levels of skin pigmentation in hospital settings compared with gold standard measures


During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been concerns regarding potential bias in pulse oximetry measurements for people with high levels of skin pigmentation. In November 2021 the UK Health Secretary ordered a review into racial bias in medical devices including pulse oximeters.


Researchers from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) and The University of Manchester have undertaken a review to investigate the accuracy of pulse oximetry in measuring blood oxygen saturations by levels of skin pigmentation. The review found that, compared with the gold standard measure for blood oxygen saturation, hospital-based pulse oximetry may overestimate oxygen saturation by around 1% (on average) in people with high levels of skin pigmentation and people whose ethnicity is reported as Black/African American.


This review included all of the available evidence up to December 2021.


Dr Chunhu Shi, Research Fellow at The University of Manchester and NIHR ARC-GM Evaluation Theme, led this review:


Our estimate of the average bias of 1% in people with high levels of skin pigmentation is new knowledge. This estimate, for the first time, reflects how large the extent of the bias would be in pulse oximetry measurements for people with high levels of skin pigmentation.


The findings from this work have substantial implications. The overestimation identified at threshold values for diagnosis of hypoxaemia could lead to clinically important hypoxaemia remaining undetected and untreated. 


For example, when using 92% as the threshold of diagnosing hypoxaemia, clinicians could consider a pulse oximetry reading of 93% as normal for a patient with high levels of skin pigmentation if the overestimate is disregarded. However, when the overestimate of 1% for this level of skin pigmentation is considered, the patient’s true oxygen saturation could be around 92% and suggest a possible hypoxaemia.


Despite the clinical implications of the overestimation, the bias estimates met internationally recommended thresholds and UK standards. We considered that the currently recommended thresholds may need re-evaluation, and the use of more conservative criterion may have merit.


Our findings support calls for the use of better calibrating algorithms within oximeter device software to address possible measurement bias. This review results offer some insights into the possible amount of bias to consider


The full findings of this work have been published in the BMC Medicine:



This review has been funded by the NIHR ARC-GM and ARC North West Coast and supported by NIHR, and the Accelerated Access Collaborative at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

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NIHR ARC Implementation Workshop Series Workshop 3 - Bringing organisation science into implementation science

Event: Workshop

Date: 10th October 2022

Time: 14:00 - 16:00

This workshop will be hosted by Graeme Currie from ARC West Midlands


Facilitating implementation through implementation research is one of the core functions of the ARCs. Implementation leads across the ARCs welcome the opportunity for informed discussions among those involved in implementation practice, research and funding around some key issues that would benefit from a coherent approach. To that end, we are organising a series of linked two-hour virtual roundtable events later this year. Each one will involve two short presentations to stimulate discussion, leading to the development of recommendations which will be collated from all four events to inform future ARC plans and strategies.

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NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) Implementation Workshop Series Workshop 1 - Maximising the Impact of NIHR funded research

Event: Workshop

Date: 19th September 2022

Time: 14:00-16:00

This workshop will be hosted by Paul Wilson from ARC Greater Manchester.


Facilitating implementation through implementation research is one of the core functions of the ARCs. Implementation leads across the ARCs welcome the opportunity for informed discussions among those involved in implementation practice, research and funding around some key issues that would benefit from a coherent approach. To that end, we are organising a series of linked two-hour virtual roundtable events later this year. Each one will involve two short presentations to stimulate discussion, leading to the development of recommendations which will be collated from all four events to inform future ARC plans and strategies.

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£2bn cost of mental ill health in the North of England


A report out today by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA), ourselves NIHR ARC Greater Manchester and other northern ARCs, shows that a parallel pandemic of mental ill health has hit the North of England with a £2bn cost to the country at the same time as the COVID-19 pandemic.


Mental health in England was hit badly over the course of the pandemic. But people in the North performed significantly worse in their mental health outcomes compared to those in the rest of the country.


  • People in the North under 35 were more likely to have developed a psychiatric disorder over the course of the pandemic, an increase of 2.5% compared to a reduction of 1.3% in rest of England.


  • There was a 12% increase in the numbers of anti-depressants prescribed during the pandemic in the North. During the pandemic, people living in the North were prescribed more anti-depressants proportionately than those in the rest of England (5.3 compared to 4.3).


  • Before the-pandemic, people from ethnic minorities and those from a white British background had similar mental health scores, Over the pandemic people from ethnic minorities had a larger fall in their average mental health (1.63 points compared to 0.87) and this was greater for those of an ethnic minority in the North (a fall of 2.34 compared to 1.45 for the rest of England).


  • Women from ethnic minorities in the North had the worst mental health in the country. Their mental health scores fell by 10% at the start of the pandemic and their scores were 4% lower throughout the pandemic.


  • Mental health fell equally in the North and the rest of the country during the pandemic (5% decrease), but it recovered more quickly in the rest of the country (to 1.3% decrease) than in the North (2% decrease).


  • The report conservatively estimates the reductions in mental health in the North during the two years of the pandemic have cost the UK economy £2bn in lost economic productivity. This is £2bn more which has been lost than if the North had suffered the same mental health outcomes as the rest of the country. 


  • The gap between the lowest and highest earners increased during the pandemic and remains large. 



Report co-author Clare Bambra, Professor of Public Health at Newcastle University, said:


“These findings reiterate that the pandemic has been very unequal. People in our most deprived communities have suffered most, in terms of death rates, dying younger and in on going ill-health such as long covid. These health inequalities reflect long-term inequalities in the social determinants of health, how we live, work and age.”



Dr Luke Munford, from our NIHR ARC Greater Manchester Economic Sustaiability theme, who also co-authored the report, said:


“Our mental health is important for us as individuals but is also important to our society. We have shown, again, that the pandemic was not equal – people in the North of England fared worse. We need to act urgently to address this or these unfair inequalities will grow and as already hard hit individuals and us as a society will unfairly suffer.”



The report urges that more needs to be done to address inequalities in mental health in the North, if ‘levelling up’ is to be achieved. 


Among its key recommendations, the report’s authors are calling for an increase in NHS and local authority resources and service provision for mental health in the North, along with an increase to the existing NHS health inequalities weighting within the NHS funding formula.


Hannah Davies, Health Inequalities Lead at the NHSA and report co-author, said:


“Increased deprivation in the North of England has added to a decline in mental health in the North of England over the course of the pandemic.


“The reasons for this are many: increased time spent in lockdowns, the type of work people in the North do but the driving factor is poverty.


“To reverse these outcomes immediate action should be taken to provide funds to mental health suppliers proportionate to the need in those areas and measure to reduce deprivation – particularly as the cost of living crisis tightens its grip further on the most vulnerable.”


The report is backed by the NHSA’s mental health trust members: Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust. 


Kathryn Singh, Chief Executive of RDaSH, said:


“Our work at RDaSH is rooted in our communities and our teams have huge experience of how much impact COVID-19 has had on the mental health of those communities – the parallel pandemic. Our experience on the ground is very much borne out by the findings of report, where levels of deprivation were already high, and where the pandemic has exacerbated all the trends that were already in place.


“But I think we are in a good position to support the vital recommendations of this report, and I’m hopeful we can play our part in the innovation and vital investment needed into mental health in communities across the North, so that they can play their full part in the UK’s economy.”



Brent Kilmurray, Chief Executive of TEWV, said:


“During the pandemic we saw not only an increase in demand for our services, but an increase in acuity – with people presenting to us with more severe mental health conditions.


“We provide services in some areas of very high deprivation, and we’re working with partners from all sectors across our region to find new ways to support these communities with their mental health. Community mental health transformation is hugely important and will help to provide more joined-up care, taking a person-centred approach to find new ways to support people with mental health issues.


"We know the impact that COVID-19 has had on people’s mental health and if you feel your mental health is being affected, please seek help and support as soon as possible.”


Read a copy the ‘Parallel Pandemic’ report here


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With great power: Taking responsibility for integrated care


July 2022 sees the formal establishment of the Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) created by the Health and Care Act 2022. These bodies will integrate health and social care in England, with the aim of providing more joined-up services tailored to local needs.


However, questions remain about how ICSs will function at place-level, particularly in terms of decision making and accountability at place level. In a new blog with Policy@ Mancster, one of our NIHR ARC-GM PhD Fellows, Melissa Surgey (@MelissaSurgey) outlines how ICSs will interact with pre-existing bodies, where the gaps are in the legislation, and how policymakers in Government and the NHS can start to fill them in...


You can access the full blog from the Policy@Manchester site here

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Developing new ways of providing support to parents and carers of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder: Findings from the CO-ASSIST study


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a severe and debilitating emotional disorder that often begins in childhood.


The effect of obsessions and compulsions are not only distressing for the child experiencing them, but also for the child’s parents and carers.


Without adequate support, the role of caring for children and young people can pose a significant burden to parents and carers. 


The CO-ASSIST study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) and supported by the Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (NIHR ARC-GM). The project was hosted by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and was led by Dr Rebecca Pedley, Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, NIHR ARC-GM Mental Health Team.


The project was carried out with consultation from two national charities, OCD UK and Anxiety UK. Speaking of the project, CEO of OCD UK, Ashley Fulwood, who has been involved in planning the project from its early stages, commented:


“We now know that OCD can have a devastating impact on individuals with OCD, including children. But loved ones, especially parents of children and adolescents with OCD are often left feeling powerless to help their child.  Which is why the team at OCD-UK were fully support of this important piece of research”


During the project, researchers spoke to parents and carers of children with OCD and professionals to get a detailed understanding of parents’ support needs and preferences. Drawing on these findings, a series of interactive workshops with parents and professionals were used to identify and reach consensus on new ways to support parents and carers of children living with the condition.


Debbie Robinson, a parent with lived experience and co-researcher commented on her role within the project:


“Working as a co-researcher on this project has been a tremendously rewarding and at times gut -wrenching experience for me as a parent of a child with OCD. To give so many parents a voice to be heard and acted upon was my motivation and has been such a worthwhile job. The findings have validated so many experiences and hopefully will lead to real change in the way that OCD is perceived, and families are supported in their hugely difficult role as carers.”


The study found that the most feasible and helpful solution was an online platform containing parent and carer informed information and resources.


Once developed, the platform will help equip parents and carers to support their child, make sense of OCD and develop a shared understanding of OCD within the family. It will also help parents to consider their self-care and provide opportunities for parents to be heard.


The team have been keen to share the findings from the project with families affected by OCD and members of the public, creating an animation, a podcast and a written summary.


The animation was narrated by Ian Puleston-Davies, patron of OCD UK charity and well-known for his TV acting roles including Coronation Street and The Teacher. Discussing the importance of the project, Ian commented:


“Take it from me, it’s exhausting being a parent of a child suffering from OCD. They really do need all the help they can get. And to know you are not alone, whether you are that parent, or that child who suffers, is so incredibly important. As a patron of OCD UK, I am always looking for an opportunity to shout about OCD from the rooftops…”


The team are now working on a grant application to seek funding to develop and test the online platform.


You can view the animation and podcast, and read more about CO-ASSIST here:


Published 5th May 2022

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Hidden LIVE: Adam's Story

Event: Event

Date: 11th May 2022

Time: 13:30-15:00

for Hidden LIVE is an immersive performance that will challenge you to encounter life as a young person struggling with their mental health. This multi-media theatre piece uses imagination and experiences of ‘real people’ and asks you to question what you can do to help.

This performance is taking place during Mental Health Awareness week 2022. The event is free and open to anyone.  Access support is available, please contact Karon Mee for more details. 

Stop. Read. Hidden. adjective. Kept out of sight, concealed. Breathe. Think.

Hidden LIVE is an immersive performance that challenges audiences to walk in the shoes of a young person struggling with mental health.

“In a few moments you will enter an avatar and become Adam. Adam’s life will become your responsibility. You will have the controls. You have the headset. Help him survive, strive even”.

Adam has just turned 18. Mum is now even more in the dark. Sean, Adam’s key worker, feels like a failure. Adam wants to be referred to adult services, will they take him?

This multi-media theatre piece uses the imaginations and experiences of ‘real people’ and asks you to question what you can do to help. “I was told we didn’t do home visits when I first came to the job, but I stood my ground and did it anyway”.

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