West Midlands people invited to lead the way in UK’s largest health research programme
From Wednesday 19 October people in central Birmingham will be able to attend appointments to join Our Future Health. People in Walsall will be able to attend from the end of October. Appointments will also be available in Boots stores in Dudley, Longbridge and Birmingham High Street.
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.
The programme is an ambitious collaboration between the public sector, charities and companies. 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.
Data from the Black Country Integrated Care System and Birmingham City Council shows that men and women in Birmingham and the Black Country have a much lower healthy life expectancy than the rest of the UK; deaths due to cardiovascular disease and smoking are also much higher than the rest of the UK; and the Black Country and Birmingham reports a higher prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease, lung disease, cancers, respiratory illnesses, depression and dementia.
Dr Ananta Dave, Chief Medical Officer for the Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “The Our Future Health programme has huge potential for helping address the many health inequalities faced by people and communities in the Black Country and Birmingham. Having a much clearer picture of people’s health will support new lifechanging research that will help people live healthier, happier lives. We are pleased that Black Country and Birmingham people are among the first to be invited to volunteer for this nationally important project.”
Dr Clara Day, Chief Medical Officer for Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board, said:
“This programme couldn’t have come at a better time. Health and care services are now working more collaboratively than ever before to tackle the health challenges faced by people in Birmingham and Solihull – as part of this we want to ensure that services are designed and delivered locally, with and for the communities they serve. Over time, this programme will help create a more detailed picture of the health of our populations and that will enable us to plan and deliver services that better meet the needs of people now and in the future. The more people that sign up to this research, the richer the data will be and we would therefore encourage people to take the opportunity to be some of the first in the country to take part in this important research.”
Working in collaboration with NHS DigiTrials, letters have been sent to 50,000 people over 18 living in Birmingham giving them the option to take part. Volunteers will give their consent to join the research programme and agree to provide secure access to their health records through a secure system, 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.
Peter Leadbetter, age 69 from Moseley, Birmingham, was one of the first in the region to join Our Future Health. He said: “I decided to join Our Future Health for a few reasons. At heart, it’s a chance for me to give a bit back to the NHS. Joining Our Future Health is a concrete way we can actually help the NHS. It’s nice knowing my grandchildren’s generation will benefit in some way.”
Dr Raghib Ali OBE, Chief Medical Officer of Our Future Health, said:
“We’re delighted that people in the West Midlands can now join Our Future Health. They have an opportunity to be part of something that could transform healthcare in the UK and we are so grateful for their support. Detecting and treating diseases early is a big challenge facing our country now and into the future – and people in the West Midlands can be part of the answer.”
To sign up, members of the public can visit the Our Future Health website.
While the West Midlands 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.
Interviews available on request with spokespeople and case studies.
Notes to editors:
Appointments in Birmingham will take place at: Level 2, U41/43, The Mailbox Shopping Centre, Birmingham, B1 1RS
Appointments in Walsall will take place at: Unit 43/45, Park Mall, Saddlers Centre, Walsall, WS1 1YS
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.