Alder Hey and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital will be improved following a £3.4m award from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). The award will offer five years of funding for both the Clinical Research Facility at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Clinical Research Unit at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital. Researchers will work together with the aim of improving the health and well-being of all. The NIHR award aims to fund medical research in their development of new treatments for patients. This award has been approved by many, in particular Professor Matthew Peak and Dr Richard Fitzgerald, directors of Research at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital.
The Clinical Research Facility (CRF), located within the new hospital ‘Alder Hey in the Park’, provides an adapted location for research daily and is used to care for research participants overnight who need regular intervention and tests. The facility also allows Alder Hey to safely undertake complex, early phase studies.
The new Royal Liverpool University Hospital will have a larger clinical research unit and the site surrounding the hospital will provide 100,000 square metres of space devoted to life sciences. This will provide development space for companies involved in research, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries.
It was stated by Jacqueline Pirmohamed, Chief Operating Officer of the NIHR Clinical Research Network in the North West Coast that, “Such NIHR facilities provide a first class infrastructure to enable patients to have access to innovative research and novel treatments. This will undoubtedly improve our understanding and future treatment of diseases across the NHS.”
In addition, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has been selected to join an elite group of NHS hospital trusts who have been selected to drive new ways of using digital technology in the NHS. These “digital exemplars” were selected from the most digitally advanced hospitals in the NHS and will lead the way in delivering radical improvements in the care of patients. Alder Hey is the only specialist children’s NHS Trust to be selected. In May 2016, the Trust announced a ground-breaking multi-year collaborative programme with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centre to create the UK’s first ‘cognitive’ hospital by joining IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology platform.
Alder Hey will receive £9.6m over the next four years to achieve Global Digital Excellence. The new funding will accelerate and enhance the Trust’s plans to deliver:
- A fully digital and paperless medical record for every child, including test results and scans.
- A web portal for patients and families that provides them with direct and secure access to medical information and their medical records, allowing them to make and change appointments.
- A web portal for healthcare professionals that provides secure access to records for patients who are in the care of a number of different NHS organisations.
- The patient ‘app’ platform with several elements: familiarisation with the hospital environment; gaming and rewards for compliance with treatment; and distraction and entertainment.
Along with the other selected NHS trusts, this funding will benefit the patients, doctors, nurses and other NHS staff. They will be able to share learning and resources with other NHS organisations through networks.