Two new research fellowships awarded

Research Fellows - Kathryn and Harriet 4rd and 5th from left

Published: 7 October 2019

Two physiotherapists are the first to have been awarded a new grant to support health professionals in Torbay and South Devon to make a difference to patient care through research.

Kathryn Bamforth was awarded the doctoral fellowship funding her to undertake a PhD over five to six years with the University of Plymouth and Harriet Hughes has been awarded the pre-doctoral fellowship, enabling her to apply for a doctoral fellowship in a year.

Kathryn, a clinical research team leader, will be completing a doctorate exploring how staff perceive their own wellbeing affects care and how it can be supported by an integrated care organisation like the Trust.  She will interview staff and patients and enable them to jointly design wellbeing support interventions. She will be supported by Associate Professor Susie Pearce, University of Plymouth.

Kathryn, of Teignmouth, has an MSc in Healthcare Leadership and is interested in the link between staff and patient experience: “This award supports me to complete a PhD whilst continuing to work within the NHS which is a fantastic privilege. I hope this research training will give me the skills to combine my clinical and academic knowledge; increasing our understanding of the impact of staff wellbeing on patient experience and developing wellbeing interventions we can test and assess. We know taking part in healthcare research improves the quality of care and outcomes for patients so I plan to encourage other staff interested in taking part to do so.”

Harriet is from Broadhempston, nearTotnes. Her pre-doctoral fellowship is a year’s funding allowing her day a week to concentrate on research. She said: “I will be completing a literature review into the use of functional electrical stimulation or FES. This is an electrical device children can wear to stimulate muscle activity during functional activity in those with cerebral palsy. I will use the literature review to explore a gap in the research around using it in other muscle groups to improve walking for some children with Cerebral Palsy.”

The Fellowship will gain her research experience and she plans to apply for funding to carry out a PHD in this field. She hopes her pre-doctoral work enables the Trust to offer FES to children with Cerebral Palsy who need help with walking due the condition of foot drop.”

Harriet is supported by Rachel Rapson, National Institute for Health Research Doctoral Fellow, and Physiotherapist at Torbay and South Devon Trust.

The grant is part of a charitable Torbay Medical Research Fund award of £250,000 to the University of Plymouth South West Clinical School at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, to support nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, social workers, clinical psychologists, and pharmacists in developing health research linked to their clinical service.

South West Clinical Schools is a collaboration between the university and NHS to encourage nurses, midwives and other allied health professionals to look at their practice, challenge current thinking, try new ideas and measure their work. Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is one of five Trusts hosting the initiative. 

Jane Viner, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nurse, said: “The collaboration between the Torbay Medical Research Fund and the Trust will lead to advances in clinical practice that will benefit patients and staff and I am looking forward to developments in the coming years”

Torbay Medical Research Fund is an independent charitable fund providing funding for research that benefits the people of Torbay and South Devon, further details