UK’s largest health research programme is live in Greater Manchester
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 Manchester and Oldham 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. Invitations in Manchester will also be sent via the MyGP app, for those who already use this service at participating GP surgeries in the region.
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 the opportunity to take part in cutting-edge research studies.
Seren Hughes, age 27, from Manchester has already joined Our Future Health, she said: “I signed up to Our Future Health because I understand the importance of early prevention of disease.
“I was diagnosed with Stage 1 ovarian cancer when I was 19 years old. It was such a shock – I was in the first year of university at the time. In a way I was lucky: my doctors caught the cancer really early. If it had been left longer, the outcome could have been quite different. Due to what I’ve experienced with my own health, I want to be part of research, so that other people can benefit from new discoveries in healthcare.
“I found joining the programme to be great. By filling in the survey, you get a chance to reflect on your own health and wellbeing. My blood appointment was right around the corner, five minutes away from my home in Manchester. It was very easy – the two staff members who ran it were lovely.
“Just by doing this simple thing you can be part of something that’s really important.”
Professor William Dixon, Director of the Centre for Epidemiology Versus Arthritis at the University of Manchester and an honorary consultant rheumatologist at Salford Royal Hospital, said:
“The scale of Our Future Health makes it a really exciting initiative, with the power to look at the causes, determinants and predictors of disease in a large, representative UK population. It will allow us to answer health questions that are important to patients and the public, which have been impossible to address in the past.
“Manchester is an exciting, dynamic and diverse city of people from different backgrounds. I hope we can show the rest of the country that we can all participate in health research for the benefit of our current and future generations. A questionnaire, a brief blood test, and you may well help change the lives of many people for the better. “
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 the Greater Manchester area can 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.”
To sign up, members of the public can visit the Our Future Health website.
While Greater Manchester is one of the first regions where Our Future Health appointments are being made available, there are plans to roll out to other regions in due course. People across the UK can sign up for the programme now and book an appointment when more locations are added in the coming months.
14 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, Cancer Research UK, 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 Manchester will take place at: 10 St Mary’s Gate, Manchester, M1 1PX
Appointments in Oldham will take place at: Unit 18, The Spindles Shopping Centre, George Street, Oldham, 0L1 1HD
The delivery of Our Future Health appointments at these locations 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.
Appointments will also be available in Boots at the Manchester Market Street store.
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.