NIHR Maudsley BRC receives £66m new investment from government
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, has announced that the Department of Health has awarded £66 million funding over the next five years to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London.
The announcement was made as the Health Secretary visited the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences (CNS) at the Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, one of the world’s leading centres for imaging in psychiatry.
The NIHR Maudsley BRC was the country’s first mental health BRC and committed to advancing medical research out of the laboratory and into the clinic. The investment in the NIHR Maudsley BRC will allow research into ground-breaking treatments and care for mental health and dementia.
Announcing the nationwide funding, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said: “The UK has so often led the world in health research – from the invention of the smallpox vaccine to the discovery of penicillin and the development of DNA sequencing. Today, we are making sure the UK stays ahead of the game by laying the foundations for a new age of personalised medicine. We are supporting the great minds of the NHS to push the frontiers of medical science so that patients in this country continue to benefit from the very latest treatments and the highest standards of care.”
The award represents a substantial uplift in funding compared to the previous BRC funding round, and demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to the current NIHR Maudsley BRC, allowing the research unit both to build on its current work and expand into new areas including substance use, pain and mobile health technology.
The expanded NIHR Maudsley BRC will bring together scientists, clinicians, mental health professionals, service users and carers, to improve clinical care and services across the field of mental health. Following NIHR’s decision to discontinue the specialist Biomedical Research Units established in 2011, the work of the Maudsley Dementia Biomedical Research Unit (BRU-D) will be continued and expanded upon in the NIHR Maudsley BRC as a theme dedicated to dementia and related disorders.
Professor Matthew Hotopf, Director of the NIHR Maudsley BRC, said: “We are delighted that the Department of Health is showing its commitment to improving the mental health of the nation through this substantial investment in our Biomedical Research Centre. Our work addresses some of the most distressing and debilitating health problems which affect people in the UK today, with a correspondingly high social and economic cost.”
Chief Executive of South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, Dr Matthew Patrick said: “Research at the Maudsley BRC has already resulted in real changes for patients, including talking therapies for psychosis, remote seizure detection in epilepsy, reducing harmful antipsychotic prescriptions for dementia. By 2021, we aim to involve 50,000 patients in new treatment studies, trialling new treatments, and introducing new digital interventions into routine NHS use. For too long mental health treatments have lagged behind the rest of medicine – our agenda will allow us to narrow the gap.”
The Government has also pledged £64 million over the next five years to the BRC at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s. The combined investment of over £130 million will allow the Guy’s and Maudsley BRCs to work together to gain new insights into common themes, especially the interface between mental and physical health, a key research area for the NIHR Maudsley BRC.
King’s is also home to the NIHR South London Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) which works closely with the NIHR Maudsley BRC and will benefit from the government’s increased investment announced today.
As part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre, the investment into the Biomedical Research Centres will play a key role in their continued mission to ensure that lessons from research are used more swiftly, effectively and systematically to improve healthcare services for people with physical and mental health care problems.
Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Executive Director of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre and Vice-Principal (Health) at King’s College London said: “The Government’s renewed commitment to funding ground-breaking mental and physical health research is extremely welcome. Today, more than ever before, we have both the opportunity and the duty to use science to develop new cutting-edge treatments and therapies to improve health outcomes for people. The funding awarded to both of our BRCs means we are also in the unique position of being able to use our research to improve life for the significant numbers of people with both mental and physical health problems.”