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Public health and primary care research

Research in this area provides evidence that is useful for health (and social) care policy and commissioning.

Recent advances in information technology have revolutionised health research. It provides new opportunities for researchers and clinicians to share data and build on one another's work. The ability to mine large datasets and combine them with information from many other sources provides huge potential to advance developments in public health.

  • The stroke register

    The stroke register was set up in 1988 to register the new stroke cases in Lambeth (200-250 cases each year) to investigate why Lambeth’s death rates were worse than Tunbridge Wells’.

    The register records patients’ risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol and details of their treatment such as whether they were admitted to a specialist stroke unit and how much physiotherapy they received. Where possible, we do yearly follow-up checks.

    The register has helped us to determine patients’ prognosis and the best and most cost effective treatments. It provides such useful information that was used by the Department of Health for its:

    • stroke strategy (PDF 820Kb) to modernise stroke services and deliver the latest treatments across the UK
    • ASSET toolkit which helps the people who commission care to plan for the future by indicating patients’ needs at certain time points after their stroke.

    It was also used by the National Audit Office to model the most efficient way of monitoring and treating stroke.

  • Exhale - pollution, vitamin D and lung health

    The Exploration of Health and Lungs in the Environment (EXHALE) programme is investigating links between air pollution, vitamin D deficiency, and their impact on the respiratory (lung) health of children in south east London. Children attending schools located close to main roads are being studied to see if reducing traffic emissions has any effect on their health, compared with pollution and respiratory health data collected before the introduction of the Low Emission Zone.

    This study is being done by researchers and clinicians from our NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, together with MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma at King’s College London, and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

    The researchers believe these children are at high risk from the negative effects of pollution on respiratory health.

    This research will inform future traffic emissions policy.

    Find out more about the EXHALE study.

  • Cardio-respiratory risk stratification to enable dynamic healthcare capacity and future therapy models in coronavirus (COVID-19) patients

    This is a retrospective study designed to develop a dynamic model predicting healthcare resource capacity and hospital flow during the COVID-19 crisis and informing the design of future therapies for use in the event of limited resources. Identifying the need and timing of healthcare capacity expansion has been a key challenge in ensuring adequate preparations during the COVID-19 pandemic are available, with the required resources being both under and overestimated across the country, and indeed the globe.  

    This study aims to develop robust healthcare capacity and treatment models to overcome these challenges using retrospective data from a high-volume UK COVID-19 centre to develop future hospital flow models. These models can be used dynamically, estimating patient flow on a day-to-day basis and predicting high capacity and medical resource requirements ahead of time to allow for adaptation to evolving circumstances. Furthermore, specific ventilator data can be used in complex modelling to further develop treatment options such as ventilator splitting for times of greater need with limited resources.

Useful links

Take part in a clinical trial

Find out how you can take part in a clinical trial at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and what is involved.