UK’s largest health research programme goes live in Leeds
Our Future Health aims to transform the prevention, detection and treatment of conditions such as dementia, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. With up to five million volunteers right across the UK, the goal is to create one of the most detailed pictures ever of people’s health.
Working in collaboration with NHS DigiTrials, the programme is sending letters to people over 18 living in Leeds giving them the option to take part. Volunteers will give their consent to join the research programme and provide secure access to their health records, complete a questionnaire and book an appointment.
At their appointment, volunteers will have a blood sample taken, plus some physical measurements. They will also be offered information about their own health, including their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In the future people who join the programme will be given the option to receive feedback about their risk of diseases and also the opportunity to take part in cutting-edge research studies.
Tom Riordan CBE, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, said:
“Leeds City Council is delighted to see Our Future Health begin its regional roll-out here. This is a large and ground-breaking programme – for the nation and the City of Leeds.
“Lots of people are growing older in relatively poor health. As a Council, we want to support people to improve their health and enable the next generation to stay healthy, with good wellbeing. We want to keep people as healthy as possible for as long as possible and Our Future Health is going to help us do that.
“If we get behind this programme as a region, health researchers will be able to help us identify people who are at risk of developing diseases. We’ll be able to reach out to those people early and help prevent disease from taking hold, rather than waiting for them to go to their GP with symptoms.
“There’s a ten-year difference in life expectancy between people who live in Harewood and Hunslet. Our Future Health will help us to understand how best to decrease that gap, with better interventions for all communities.
“I hope people from communities across Leeds will consider joining Our Future Health. We’re a diverse, multi-ethnic city, which is a huge advantage for our economy and our culture, but it also means each community has its own specific health needs. If a large and diverse group of people join this programme, we’ll find new ways to prevent, detect and treat diseases for everyone in our city.”
Volunteers’ data will be held securely in trusted research environments that meet strict security criteria and will be anonymised.
Andrew Roddam, CEO of Our Future Health, said:
“We’re delighted that people in Leeds can now join Our Future Health. They have an opportunity to be part of something that could change the whole paradigm of healthcare in the UK and we are so grateful for their support.”
Geoff Hall, Senior Lecturer in Medical Oncology and Cancer Informatics at the University of Leeds, said:
“For cancer doctors like me, Our Future Health has the potential to solve one key area: the early diagnosis of cancer. By getting to cancer earlier, we can treat it faster. The outcome is better for the patient and the health system.
“I want to see West Yorkshire richly present in Our Future Health’s dataset. People from this area have a particular genetic and environmental makeup that is different to people who live elsewhere. By joining the programme now, we can make sure that future medicines and tests are based on our specific needs. Our challenge as a region is to be a top recruiter to Our Future Health. I want to see us take pride knowing that West Yorkshire is at the heart of a successful, game-changing programme.”
To sign up, members of the public can visit the Our Future Health website.
13 of the UK’s leading health charities are affiliates of Our Future Health: Action Against Age-related Macular Degeneration, Alzheimer’s Society, Asthma + Lung UK, Blood Cancer UK, Breast Cancer Now, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, Kidney Research UK, Pancreatic Cancer UK, Parkinson’s UK, Prostate Cancer UK, Royal Osteoporosis Society and Stroke Association.
Interviews available on request with spokespeople and case studies.
Notes to editors:
Appointments in Leeds will take place at: Unit 4, Leeds, St Johns Centre, Merrion Street, Leeds LS2 8LQ
The delivery of Our Future Health appointments will be supported by Acacium Group and Pharmacy2U. They will provide the workforce and facilities needed to create capacity for appointments for blood sample collection and physical measurements. They will not have access to the participant’s healthcare records or the main Our Future Health database which holds all participant data.
Opt-out from receiving an invitation – People who have previously opted out of sharing health data for planning and research purposes, by submitting a National Data Opt-out, will not receive an invitation letter to join the programme via NHS Digital (who host the NHS DigiTrials service). People who do not want to receive an invitation letter from NHS Digital can opt out by completing the form on the NHS DigiTrials webpage.
About Our Future Health
Our Future Health is a collaboration between the public, private and charity sectors. It aims to be the UK’s largest health research programme, bringing people together to develop new ways to prevent, detect and treat disease.
Our Future Health is committed to the highest standards, policies and processes that protect participants’ confidentiality, whilst maximising the opportunity to help researchers to tackle serious diseases. Participants’ data will be de-identified and held securely in trusted research environments that meet strict security criteria. There will be a robust and transparent access process to ensure appropriate research access to Our Future Health data and samples for registered researchers. All researchers will be held to the same standards.
Our Future Health is a member of the UK Health Data Research Alliance, the independent alliance of leading healthcare and research organisations establishing best practice for the ethical use of UK health data for research at scale.
Our Future Health is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (number 12212468) and a charity registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (charity number 1189681) and OSCR, Scottish Charity Regulator (charity number SC050917).
About NHS DigiTrials
NHS DigiTrials, hosted by NHS Digital, offers data services to support clinical trials. We help reduce the time, effort and cost of developing new drugs, treatments and services, bringing benefits to patients, the public and the NHS.