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Christ Church study wins National Mental Health Research Network Award

19 July 2012

A study by Canterbury Christ Church University assessing the effect inclusive care plans have on the quality of life for in-patients in secure mental health settings has won a national award.

The three year pilot project, led by Dr Doug MacInnes at the University’s Centre for Health and Social Care Research, has been awarded the 2012 Mental Health Research Network (MHRN) prize for the portfolio study with best service user involvement.

A portfolio study is one that is defined as being a high-quality clinical research study and funded by either the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), or another well regarded funding stream, which has undergone a high quality peer review.

The three year project, Comquol, is in collaboration with partners Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, Institute of Psychiatry and Queen Mary, University of London. It is piloting a new collaborative approach for clinicians and service users to use when developing care and treatment options for patients in forensic mental health settings.

Dr MacInnes said: “We are delighted that our project has been recognised with this prestigious, national award.

“It is one of the first such studies to specifically look into practice that has the potential to positively affect patient benefit in a forensic mental health setting.

“We already know that if service users with mental health issues in a community setting are involved in their care decisions, they become engaged with their support which has a positive impact on their health.  However, current research shows that forensic mental health services have largely ignored examining users’ views on the nature of the services offered to them.

“We hope to establish a structured programme, using a collaborative approach that can be used within a secure mental health setting and will allow the views and opinions of the service users to become an integral part of their treatment. Hopefully this will ensure that they become engaged with their care, benefit the service users and lessen the possibility of more extensive problems.

"The Comquol study has had superb service user involvement throughout. The voice of forensic service users is all too often not heard nearly enough. The NIHR MHRN congratulates the Comquol study team and all the service users that are involved in the study for their excellent work."   

Dr Thomas Kabir, MHRN Service Users in Research Coordinator for the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, said: "The Comquol study has had superb service user involvement throughout. The voice of forensic service users is all too often not heard nearly enough. The NIHR MHRN congratulates the Comquol study team and all the service users that are involved in the study for their excellent work"   

The funding for the Comquol project was awarded by the NIHR for their Research for the Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme.

The award was presented at the MHRN annual scientific meeting in Birmingham.


Notes to Editor

  • The three year study Communication approach on Quality Of Life (Comquol) in secure mental health settings commenced in January 2012 and is a pilot trial to examine the proposed methodology of an intervention study based upon the computer assisted structured communication approach developed by Stefan Priebe and colleagues.  The specific objectives of the study are to:
    • Establish the feasibility of the trial design as the basis for determining the viability of a large full-scale trial (the estimated treatment effect, study procedures, outcome measures, estimates of recruitment for a main trial and follow up of participants)
    • Determine the variability of the outcomes of interest (quality of life, levels of satisfaction, disturbance, ward climate and engagement with services)
    • Estimate the costs of the intervention
    • Refine the intervention following the outcome of the study based upon the experiences of the clinicians and patients. 
  • The Mental Health Research Network is funded by the NIHR and supports vital large-scale research designed to help to raise the standard of mental health and social care research throughout England.
  • The NIHR oversee all national research funding for the Department of Health and it is the first time Kent and Medway NHS Trusts have been part of a project that has received such a prestigious national award for research.
  • Forensic mental health care is the provision of services for people with mental health disorders who are offenders or at risk of offending. Services are provided in secure, community, NHS and criminal justice settings.

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students, and five campuses across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).
  • 94% of our nursing students are employed in nursing roles six months after finishing their course.
  • Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2010 UCAS).
  • 2012 is the University’s Golden Jubilee, reflecting on 50 years of higher education and innovation.

For media enquiries:

Jeanette Earl
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