Secretary of State for Health meets Nottingham academics

Andrew Lansley MP
07 Mar 2011 16:45:00.000


Andrew Lansley MP met University of Nottingham academics when he visited the city to announce new national funding for medical research.

Mr Lansley, Secretary of State for Health, talked to researchers in the city’s Biomedical Research Units (BRUs) – special centres that aim to turn world-class research into new treatments for patients.

Nottingham is the only city in the country to have three BRUs, which are looking at three key areas: digestive diseases, hearing, and respiratory disease. The BRUs, funded through a previous round of government funding in this area, are collaborations between The University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH).

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During his visit to NUH (March 7th), Mr Lansley announced a new round of funding for research across the country – £775million to be made available to NHS and university partnerships through the National Institute for Heath Research (NIHR) to improve health outcomes for patients in high priority disease areas.

Mr Lansley made the announcement at the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit (Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre) at the Queen’s Medical Centre campus of NUH. He was welcomed by NUH Chairman Dr Peter Barrett and introduced to key members of hospital and University of Nottingham staff involved with research.

Professor Robin Spiller, Lead Director of the NIHR BRU, gave the Secretary of State a tour of the facility and introduced him to the cutting-edge research carried out there, including:

• a live demonstration by Dr Mark Fox of high resolution manometry, used to diagnose disorders of gut motility by measuring and displaying pressure activity within the gullet and stomach
• a demonstration by Dr Neil Guha of the 3CN study which is evaluating a range of biomarkers to predict the progression of liver cirrhosis.
• A demonstration by Dr Luca Marciani of how MRI can be used to noninvasively image GI function without using ionising radiation.

Professor Spiller said: “Medical research can make the health service more efficient. There are plenty of diseases where treatments are not optimum and our challenge is to develop new diagnostic tests and better treatments.

“We’re delighted that the Secretary of State visited our BRUs and very much enjoyed telling him about research we are doing in Nottingham that has the potential to make a significant improvement to patient care.”

John Atherton, Professor of Gastroenterology, met the Secretary of State and introduced him to his research on the long-term effects of Helicobacter pylori infection. Investigators Dr Sarah Kuehne also discussed her research on the Clostridium difficile toxins with Mr Lansley while Professor Will Irving and Dr Steven Ryder discussed their work on Hepatitis C virus through the Trent Hepatitis C cohort study which has been running in Nottingham since 1992.

Mr Lansley said: “The Government is modernising the NHS with the aim of giving patients the best care possible. We also want to make sure they get the best treatment. To do that we need to give British researchers the tools they need to develop new world-class treatments and innovations for NHS patients.

“That’s why we are making £775 million available for health research. This investment is vital to achieving our goal of making the NHS a world-leading healthcare system.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Director General of Research and Development at the Department of Health, said: “The successful NHS and university partnerships will receive long-term funding to provide the best environment to support cutting edge translational research. These Centres and Units will provide vital support for research funded by NIHR and our public sector, charity and industry partners.”

— Ends —

Notes to editors:

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) is one of the largest acute teaching trusts in the country. It is made up of Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC), Nottingham City Hospital and Ropewalk House, a facility in Nottingham City Centre where hearing services are based.

The Trust provides acute and specialist services to 2.5 million people within Nottingham and surrounding communities from QMC, City Hospital campuses and Ropewalk House.

NUH has an annual budget of £722million of public sector funding and employs over 13,000 staff, making the Trust one of the city’s biggest employers. In addition, NUH has over 1,500 volunteers who each make a unique contribution to NUH. The Trust currently has 1,700 beds and 100 wards.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients.

The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at:

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Robin Spiller, Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre, University of Nottingham, +44 (0)115 8231032,; Steve Thorne, Communications Manager, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, on +44 (0)115 9709975,
Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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