The University of Strathclyde and NHS Lanarkshire have joined forces to tackle key health and care challenges facing society.

The two organisations have formalised their long-standing collaboration through a strategic partnership agreement and the award of ‘University Status’ to NHS Lanarkshire. 

The partnership is being led by Health & Care Futures at Strathclyde, a new cross-University collaboration to utilise Strathclyde’s expertise to make an effective and sustained contribution to the future of health and care in the UK and beyond.

It will apply multidisciplinary expertise in medicines innovation, future technologies, data analytics, artificial intelligence, leadership and ‘whole systems’ improvement to NHS Lanarkshire’s commitment to high quality and innovative health and social care. 

Academic excellence

Heather Knox, Chief Executive of NHS Lanarkshire, said: “This is a further significant step towards our vision of creating a culture of academic excellence in NHS Lanarkshire that helps deliver new and improved ways of working for the people of Lanarkshire.

“We are excited about the tremendous opportunities this partnership with the University of Strathclyde will bring for patients, NHS staff and staff and students at the university. By working together, we can make a real difference to people’s health and wellbeing.”

Strathclyde has a number of existing and ongoing projects with NHS Lanarkshire, including the ADLIFE EU project in which Lanarkshire is a clinical pilot site and which will provide range of digital tools to facilitate care provision for carers and patients with chronic conditions, allowing them to live independently in home and community environments.

The University has also been working with NHS Lanarkshire over a number of years on the use of digital health and an Advanced Symptom Management System in supportive cancer care in people with mesothelioma and are currently working with them developing an app for chronic pain management in the community.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde said: “Strathclyde and NHS Lanarkshire have been collaborating successfully for many years on a number of projects. 

I am delighted that we have formalised our partnership and evolved it into a strategic alliance through this new agreement and look forward to working together to tackle some of the biggest challenges in health and care today.  

“Health is a major research focus of the University and this partnership, led by our new Health & Care Futures initiative, will benefit immensely both Strathclyde and NHS Lanarkshire and, most importantly, improve patient outcomes and effective health and care delivery.”

Honorary positions

Through reciprocal honorary positions, the collaboration will see staff and students from both organisations work in close partnership to address ‘real world’ challenges facing the health and care systems via collaborative research projects, knowledge exchange, education and training.     

Researchers at Strathclyde recently helped NHS Lanarkshire to predict and manage hospital bed capacity for COVID-19 patients during the most critical phase of the pandemic. The model, commissioned by the Health Board in early March, was crucial in informing NHS Lanarkshire’s plan to manage the demand for critical care and general ward beds across the three main Lanarkshire hospitals.

Health & Care Futures at Strathclyde is headed by Professor Roma Maguire, an expert in Digital Health and Care in the University’s Department of Computing and Information Sciences.

She said: “Health and care systems across the world are facing an unprecedented demand due to a growing and ageing population, increasing incidence of chronic diseases and shrinking workforce.

“This is resulting in a health and care system that is unsustainable and unable to meet the demands placed on it. There is an urgent need for transformative change, shifting the balance of care from hospitals and enabling and empowering individuals to live as well as possible at home and in the community.

“We are excited to broaden and deepen our partnership with NHS Lanarkshire and working with other health boards and partners across the world.”