HEUnews: Spring 2022

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A warm welcome to this Spring issue of HEUnews. In this issue we celebrate Emma Frew’s Inaugral Lecture, introduce two already familiar names as HEU’s new Programme Lead and Deputy Programme Lead for our MSc Health Economics Programmes, and shine a spotlight on two NIHR funded research projects. The first research project is being undertaken as a collaboration with Keele University and is led at HEU by Sue Jowett; the second is led by HEU’s Philip Kinghorn. We also congratulate Muslim Syed for successfully defending his Thesis at Viva and passing with minor corrections.

Photo of Emma Frew with Emma's parents

Have You Heard? …

Emma Frew delivered her inaugural lecture in March on ‘How can Economics Influence Obesity Policy?’  Emma was promoted to professor in 2019 and was delighted to finally have the opportunity to share her academic journey with friends, family and colleagues.  The talk was about Emma’s research on the economics of obesity; the challenges encountered; how economics evidence is being used to inform local government strategy; and the implications for obesity policy and health economics within this setting. It was lovely to host this event, meet Emma’s family and friends, and catch up with past and present members of staff and students from HEU.

Emma pictured delivering her PowerPoint Presentation

Profile picture of Raymond Oppong

What’s New in HEU?

We are delighted to announce that HEU’s Raymond Oppong will take up the role of Programme Lead for our MSc Programmes in Health Economics, following the departure of Dr Patrick Moore to take up a new role (with promotion) at the University of Bristol; HEU’s Jesse Kigozi takes up the role of Deputy Programme Lead. 

Ray and Jesse both have a wealth of experience leading and contributing to elements of the MSc programmes, and indeed both completed the MSc in Health Economics and Health Policy as students some years ago!  Congratulations to Ray and Jesse on their new appointments.

Congratulations also to HEU’s Louise Jackson, who was recently appointed as Co-Head of Education for the Institute of Applied Health Research, within which HEU is located.

Project logo for PROMPPT Study

Research Focus: Keele University Collaboration – The PROMPPT trial

HEU has enjoyed a long-standing collaboration with the Primary Care Centre at Keele University, focussing on musculoskeletal disease research. Since 2010, the collaboration has been led at HEU by Sue Jowett.

PROMPPT, a five-year programme of work supported by the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research funding stream, is now reaching the stage where the definitive clinical trial is being prepared, ready for launch later in 2022. The trial will assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of providing a pharmacist-led intervention in patients with persistent pain who are prescribed long-term opioids compared with usual primary care. Around 8 million adults in the UK have persistent (non-cancer) pain which causes moderate or severe interference with their life. The use of morphine-like painkillers called ‘opioids’ for persistent pain has increased dramatically in recent years. However, these drugs often don’t help in the long term and have side effects such as addiction and overdose, but their use is not regularly reviewed. The PROMPPT programme of work has developed a clinical pharmacist-led primary care pain review for patients taking opioid medication for persistent pain. The next stage is to test out this intervention in a cluster-randomised trial. The economic evaluation includes both a within-trial analysis but also decision modelling to consider long-term implications on costs and patient outcomes.

NIHR School for Social Care Research

Research Focus: NIHR funded research on self-funding and capital depletion

HEU’s Philip Kinghorn was awarded funding by the NIHR’s School for Social Care Research to lead a 22 month programme of work to investigate what happens in cases of capital depletion: cases where somebody has been self-funding social care but then seeks help because of a concern about their savings/assets depleting.  When savings fall below the current threshold of £23,250, a person who is assessed as having a need for social care services may be eligible for financial support from the local authority.  The work will focus on cases of capital depletion by residents in care and nursing homes.  Little is known about what happens in these cases or how best to support residents and family members during a period likely to be characterised by stress and anxiety.  With proposed changes to the thresholds at which people become eligible for local authority support, the introduction of a lifetime funding cap and fair costs of care, new waves of people are likely to experience the transition out of self-funding and local authorities will need to prepare for this.

Qualitative interviews with relevant stakeholders will be conducted to identify current pathways, outcomes, support needs and best practice.  Resources will then be co-produced to promote best practice and there will be consideration of stakeholder incentives to adopt such best practice.

The project team also includes Dr Denise Tanner (Department of Social Work & Social Care, University of Birmingham), Dr Kate Baxter (University of York) and Anne Hastings (Age UK Solihull).

Syed, pictured with supervisors (Tracy & Louise) and examiners (Hema and Emma).

Capacity Building: Congratulations to Dr Muslim Syed!

Congratulations to Dr Muslim Abass Syed (Syed) on successfully defending his PhD thesis, entitled “Measuring and assessing patient satisfaction with sexual health services”. Syed’s supervisors were Tracy Roberts and Louise Jackson; examiners were Dr Hema Mistry (University of Warwick) and Emma Frew.

Recent Selected Publications

Candio P, Meads D, Hill AJ, Bojke. “Does providing everyone with free-of-charge organised exercise opportunities work in public health?Health Policy 2022.

Christian MT, Webb NJA, Mehta S, Woolley RL, Afentou N, Frew E, Brettell EA, Khan AR, Milford DV, Bockenhauer D, Saleem MA, Hall AS, Koziell A, Maxwell H, Hegde S, Projapati H, Gilbert RD, Jones C, McKeever K, Cook W, Ives N.  “Evaluation of Daily Low-dose Prenisolone during Upper Respiratory Tract Infection to Prevent Relapse in Children with Relapsing Steroid Sensitive Nephrotic Syndrome: The PREDNOS2 trial“.  JAMA Pediatrics 2022.

Guan N, Guariglia A, Moore P, Xu F, Al-Janabi H. “Financial stress and depression in adults: A systematic review“. PloS One 2022. *PhD Research*

Jiang X, Jackson L, Syed M, Saygin Avsar T, Abdali Z. “Economic evaluations of tobacco control interventions in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review“. Addiction 2022.

Jowett S, Kodabuckus S, Ford GA, Hobbs FDR, Lown M, Mant J, Payne R, McManus RJ, Sheppard JP for the OPTiMISE investigators. “Cost-effectiveness of antihypertensive deprescribing in primary care: a Markov modelling study using data from the OPTiMISE trial“. Hypertension 2022. 79(5); 1122-1131

Paskins, Z., Bromley, K., Lewis, M., Hughes, G., Hughes, E., Hennings, S., Cherrington, A., Hall, A., Holden, M.A., Stevenson, K. and Menon, A., Roberts P., Peat G., Jinks C., Kigozi J., Oppong R., Foster N.E., Mallen C.D, and Roddy E. “Clinical effectiveness of one ultrasound guided intra-articular corticosteroid and local anaesthetic injection in addition to advice and education for hip osteoarthritis (HIT trial): single blind, parallel group, three arm, randomised controlled trial“. BMJ, 2022. 377.


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