Taunton anaesthetists scoop national award for research - 11 May 2016

Taunton anaesthetists scoop national award for research - 11 May 2016

A team of anaesthetists at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton have scooped a prestigious national award as part of a south-west research project.

The South West Anaesthesia Research Matrix, also known as SWARM, was last week named Anaesthesia Team of the Year at this year’s British Medical Journal (BMJ) Awards.

Set up four years ago, SWARM is a trainee-led audit and research collaboration between six NHS organisations in the region, including Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.

It is also supported by Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) and the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC).

Judges’ comments on the winning Anaesthesia team were that: “SWARM provides good opportunities for career development and will increase the future supply of highly informed, engaged and motivated anaesthetic researchers, working for the benefit of patients.”

The power of the network is that projects can be run at the same time at all the participating NHS trusts. This results in better quality research that has a higher impact for patients in Taunton and across the south west.

So far the network has run a total of 10 of these collaborative projects, presenting and publishing their results widely on its website:

Dr Sam Barrell, chief executive at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “We are really pleased that the network has been recognised nationally. It is a great example of how partnership working between hospital trusts has led to high quality research that directly benefits patients.

“We want to thank hospital research nurses, who have worked closely with anaesthetic trainees across the network, as well as the hundreds of local patients who have taken part in our studies.”

Dr Andrew Woodgate, specialist registrar in anaesthetics at Musgrove Park Hospital, explained why SWARM has led to higher quality research.

“We are very proud of the achievements of our anaesthetists,” he said. “With six NHS trusts across the south west working together on the research projects, we have been able to recruit more patients. This means we have a larger sample of patient data to work with, leading to better quality results.”

The worldwide, multi-centred LAS VEGAS study, run in 2013, first put SWARM on the map. This looked at mechanical ventilation practice during operations.

In 2016 SWARM will complete recruitment to CUPPA, a study of whether careful brushing of teeth decreases patients’ risk of getting pneumonia after major surgery. This trial is the first national grant funded multicentre project ever to be delivered by a UK anaesthetic trainee network.   

SWARM is in partnership with NIHR PenCLAHRC, which funds a research fellow who draws on PenCLAHRC’s expertise in patient and public involvement and critical appraisal to design future projects.