School of Health and Social Care

Health and Care Research Service

Improving lives locally, nationally and internationally

We can help you evaluate and improve services to your users, their carers and employees.

Here at the University of Essex we are dedicated to excellence in the research and evaluation of health, wellbeing and social care. The Health and Care Research Service draws on the expertise of our academic teams to offer a wide range of research and consultancy services.

We work in partnership with health, social care and voluntary sector organisations across the East of England region, nationally and internationally.

Ours areas of expertise include project evaluation and primary research in health services research, public health policy, health psychology, clinical psychology, medical sociology, exercise science, physical activity, social work, and adult and mental health nursing at schools and workplaces.

Our services

With the vast range of expertise at the university we are able to provide you with full research design, advice and consultancy, including undertaking project and service evaluations.

We offer a variety of methodologies including face to face interviewing, focus groups, surveys and data collection. 

We will analyse the resultant quantitative data and qualitative feedback and produce full or summary reports, including case studies where appropriate.

Our expertise

We have a first-rate research profile and our expertise includes the application of psychology and sociology to real-world issues, participatory research and evidence-based practice. We draw upon the wide range of expertise within in the School of Health and Social Care as well as associated staff in other university departments.

Our staff include academics and clinicians with quantitative and qualitative expertise in a range of health and care related research areas including: chronic illness; gerontology; health and clinical psychology; health risks; learning difficulties; management; mental health; nursing; oral health; occupational therapy; physiotherapy; pharmacy; medical sociology; social exclusion; social policy; social work speech and language therapy; sports science; and substance abuse.

Past projects

Evaluations of various recurrent care services

Since 2015, we have been undertaking evaluations for a number of services that are working to empower birth mothers involved in repeat care proceedings.

This has led onto a 'change project' on recurrent care during 2018 and 2019, led by Research in Practice in partnership with colleagues in Essex and Lancaster Universities, working with 13 local authorities to assist them in developing new services in this field.

More details about the first recurrent care projects evaluated, including the research report can be found here.

Designing a system-wide occupational and employment support system in Essex for people with mental illness and learning disabilities

Essex County Council wanted to develop a new approach to support people with mental illness and learning disabilities currently receiving adult social care support moving into meaningful occupation (ideally paid employment).

In 2018 we carried out a systematic literature review, a survey of relevant local conditions within Essex and stakeholder engagement via focus groups and interviews to explore perceived benefits, barriers and facilitators and to enhance our understanding of local conditions, followed by a stakeholder engagement event to co-produce a system-wide set of recommendations.

Read the report.

Evaluation of the Norfolk Perinatal Infant Mental Health Service (PIMHS)

Carried out Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust and Norfolk County Council.

In 2016, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers evaluated a pilot service in the East of England offering a therapeutically led attachment-based intervention for families on the edge of care where there were significant safeguarding concerns alongside attachment problems in the parent/infant relationship and an identified parental mental health problem. The evaluation examined psychological and safeguarding outcomes and explored practitioner perspectives.

This work was published in the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law (Volume 40, 2018 - Issue 3)

The lived experience of self-care in mental health in Essex

This joint University of Essex and Healthwatch Essex research project explored how people in Essex understand self-care in mental health and how primary care services support them in practicing self-care.

Three group discussions were held in different locations in Essex during January 2017 to gain an in-depth understanding of people’s views on self-care in mental health and how primary care mental health services support them in practicing self-care.

Read the report.

A single centre service evaluation of the Virtual Dementia Tour

Carried out for Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust.

This project evaluated the impact of the Virtual Dementia Tour ® (VDT ®) training on the understanding and knowledge of staff that provide care or come into contact with people with dementia in the acute hospital setting.

The design of the study was primarily qualitative, collecting delegate’s views of the VDT ® via questionnaires, a focus group or a telephone interview.

NHS England - Investing in Specialised Services: Analysis of Responses to an NHS England National Consultation

In 2015 NHS England published a national consultation which described the proposed principles and processes by which NHS England will make future decisions on investment in specialised services. The consultation sought views on the proposed principles, process and their likely impact on reducing inequalities.

HCRS analysed these responses as part of a national consultation and presented the findings in a report for NHS England.

Care Closer to Home/Urgent Care: Analysis of Responses to the North Essex CCG consultation

North Essex Clinical Commissioning Group consulted on the Care Closer to Home and Urgent Care proposals between December 2014 and February 2015.

Data was collected on the views of the public using an online survey. HCRS analysed the data collected from this project and provided produced a report based upon the findings.

Read the report.

FAQs

How soon should we contact the Health and Social Care Research Service?

We would like to hear from you as early as possible to discuss your requirements and advise you on how to plan your research or evaluation.

For example, if you are developing a new service which will need an evaluation component, get in touch with us as soon as you begin to plan the service as it helps to incorporate evaluation into service design from the beginning.

If you are planning a stakeholder consultation and want us to analyse the data, we can advise you early on how to design the consultation as this can impact on what it is possible to analyse.

We also understand evaluation and analysis can be left to the last minute sometimes and it may still be possible for us to help in these situations. So, while it is best to contact us as early as possible, we will also try to assist with your requirements whatever stage of development you are at.

Will we need ethics approval?

Ethics approval for research and evaluation in health and social care settings can be complex to navigate and whether or not your project needs ethical approval will depend on a number of different factors.

We can advise you on this and where approvals are required we can complete applications for you and guide you through the process. This is something we would discuss with you from the outset.

How quickly can you complete a project?

All projects vary in terms of timelines and this will depend on the nature and scale of the research or evaluation required. If you have a very short deadline for the project you need completed, we will discuss with you from the outset what is possible within the timescale.

For all projects, we will discuss your requirements with you and will set out a proposed timeline and deliverables that we would be working to.

How much will it cost?

Projects vary significantly in terms of costs. We would encourage you to make contact with us as soon as possible so we can discuss what is possible within your budget and timeline.

How will data be managed?

In some projects we collect data for you; in other projects you collect data and provide it to us for analysis. There will be different ethical and data protection arrangements in place for these different types of project.

We have a range of research governance and data protection practices in place to cover a wide range of data uses and where necessary we will help to set up a data sharing arrangement with your organisation. We will discuss this with you early on and establish what will be required to put in place to cover data security.

Get in touch
If you are interested in us providing you with one of our services, email us. With our range of specialisms and our experience, we are always happy to discuss your plans and how we can help.
Health and Care Research Service, School of Health and Social Care, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ