Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Dr Darren Flynn

Senior Research Associate

Background

Background 

I am a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Practitioner Health Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS), with 16 years’ experience of multi-disciplinary/method applied research. Prior to joining the Institute of Health and Society (IHS) I was a lecturer in psychology, and a lecturer in research methods at Teesside University. I have worked on a range of primary research studies in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings, including a number of secondary research studies (e.g., evaluation of behaviour change models, development and evaluation of behavioural interventions targeting physical activity and diet, referral behaviour of general practitioners for suspected GI disorders, patient education for prostate cancer and psychological aspects of idiopathic scoliosis).

Upon joining IHS in 2009, I worked as the lead researcher on the strand of the NIHR-funded DASH (Development and Assessment of Services for Hyper-acute Stroke) PGFaR. This involved the development of a computerised decision aid for thrombolytic treatment in acute stroke care (COMPASS) that provides individualised information on risks and benefits of treatment to (i) assist clinicians with deciding who should be offered thrombolysis; and (ii) providing personalised information on benefits and risks of treatment to patients/families in order to support the process of informed consent and shared decision making.

My current work involves (1) the development of patient education/shared decision making in mental health settings; (2) implementation of a computerised decision aid for stroke thrombolysis (COMPASS) in the NHS; (2) development of a Lewy-body dementia information and support group; and (3) Promoting Effective and Rapid Stroke (PEARS) Care: development and evaluation of an extended paramedic role in acute stroke care and statistical modelling to inform service re-design for thrombectomy (Delphi survey and systematic review with meta-analysis).

I have also co-produced a theory-based educational film to raise awareness of the benefits of shared decision making in primary care for depression, in partnership with experts by experience from Moving Forward Newcastle and input/contribution from Frank Bruno MBE. The film and associated materials can be viewed or downloaded from the SDM and Depression website

There have been over 8,000 visitors to the film website from 93 different countries (Google Analytics).

The film is listed as a resource as part of Health Foundation’s Person-centred Care Resource Centre: webpages: http://personcentredcare.health.org.uk/resources/shared-decision-making-depression

The film development process was selected by the NHS Improving Quality as example of best practice for PPI/E and appears on their website as a case study: http://www.hqip.org.uk/resources/case-study-a-journey-twoards-recovery-from-depression/ 

Press interviews and coverage related to the film about SDM and mental health:

Mental health - a matter for us all (13th April 2015 - The Journal, J2, pp15,16; also Comment, p18)

Mayor of South Tyneside backs new mental health film (24th May 2015 - Shields Gazette) 

Breaking the stigma: mental health in focus (27th April, The Courier Online)

Metro Radio (http://www.metroradio.co.uk/): Shared decision making – why it is important for mental health? 13th April 2015

NE1fm (http://www.ne1fm.net/everyones-tomorrow-today/). Elders Council. Everyone’s Tomorrow Today programme. Maintaining mental health while we age. 5th June 2015

Press release - launch of SDM Film

Frank Bruno MBE visits IHS on 2nd Sep 2014


Google scholar PROFILE (H Index = 14)

Previous Positions

  • 2008-2009: Research Tutor, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Teesside University)
  • 2005-2009: Senior Lecturer in Research Methods (Teesside University)
  • 2002-2005: Lecturer in Psychology (Teesside University)

Qualifications

  • PhD in Psychology (2007)
  • MSc Health Psychology (2001)
  • BSc Psychology (1997)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (2009)

Professional Registration

  • Practitioner Health Psychologist, Health and Care Professions Council (2013-date)
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS
  • Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor, British Psychology Society (2013-date)
  • Chartered Psychologist, British Psychological Society (2007 - date)
  • Full Member of the Division of Health Psychology, British Psychological Society, (2007-date)

I am a Coordinating Supervisor Training for the Qualification in Health Psychology (Stage 2). I would be happy to consider providing supervision to students who are eligible to enrol on the Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology via the independent route.

Memberships

Awards and other esteem indicators

  • COMPASS (COMPuterised decision Aid for Stroke thrombolysiS) - Runner up in 'Future Impact' Category, Faculty of Medical Sciences Impact Awards 2015, Newcastle University (£500 prize)

Invited speaker

  • Newcastle and Gateshead Vanguard, Enhancing the health of care home residents (participation and engagement programme). How to involve people in making decisions. Gateshead Civic Centre, 10th June 2016
  • Advancing Quality Alliance (AQuA). Improving Access and Experience for People with First Episode Psychosis. Third Improvement Community Event. Involving mental health service users in shared decision making. Mercure Georgian House Hotel, Manchester Rd, Blackrod, Bolton 23rd March 2016.

  • Advancing Quality Alliance (AQuA). Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat – National Improvement Collaborative Meeting, Shared decision making and mental health crisis care planning. Mercure Georgian House Hotel, Manchester Rd, Blackrod, Bolton 3rd Feb 2016

  • NHS England Northern Clinical Networks and Shared Decision Making Community of Interest. Co-production and shared decision making: Co-production in action: The SDM in Depression film (case study) Seminar Room, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University; 14th Jan 2016
  • Keele University. COMPuterised decision Aid for Stroke thrombolysis (COMPASS) Seminar Room, Postgraduate Medicine, Department of Stroke Medicine, Royal Stoke University Hospital, 12th Aug 2015
  • Tees Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Taskforce Partnership. Shared decision making and mental health. Middlesbrough, Riverside Stadium, 9th June 2015

  • Northumberland Tyne and Wear (NTW) Mental Health Trust. Screening of the film about shared decision making and mental health; North of Tyne Jubilee Theatre, St Nicholas Hospital, Gosforth, 28th May 2015
  • South Tyneside Mental Health User Voice service. John's Experience of Shared Decision Making in Primary Care for Depression. Library Theatre, Central Library, South Shields; 15th May 2015
  • Mind the Gap: The NUSU Mental Health Conference.  A new film about shared decision making and mental health. Newcastle University Student’s Union, 25th April 2015
  • Shared Decision Making Community of Interest. The Benefits and Challenges of Shared Decision Making in Dementia Care. Great North Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne, 26th November 2014
  • Service User and Carer Reference Group, NTW. A New Educational Film about Shared Decision Making in Primary Care for Depression, Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne. 20th Nov 2014
  • Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear TRANSFORMING PARTICIPATION FORUM, Nursing and Quality Directorate, NHS England. Learning from innovative work in shared decision making: Co-production: Innovation in work with patients with depression, Waterfront 4, Newburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, 4th Nov 2014
  • NHS England and Health Foundation Engagement Event. Implementing a COMPuterised decision Aid for Stroke thrombolySis (COMPASS). Fenwick Room, Castle Leazes, Newcastle upon Tyne, 14th February 2014 
  • Northern Clinical Networks and Newcastle University event on Shared Decision Making. Involving People in their Care: Evidence-based decision support in the emergency care setting – a COMPuterised decision Aid for Stroke thrombolySis (COMPASS). Millennium Suite, Waterfront 4, Newburn Riverside, Newcastle upon Tyne, 23rd January 2014 
  • North East Stroke Research Network – Focus on Research. DASH II: Decision Support and Risk Communication for Thrombolytic Treatment in Acute Stroke, Stadium of Light, Sunderland, 8th March 2012


Research

Research Interests

I am interested in research across the entire sphere of influence in health psychology (i.e., application of psychological theory/methods to management of health problems; health promotion; psychological factors associated with illness; and quality improvement in both healthcare practice and policy). I am particularly interested in research on decision support, patient engagement, shared decision making and risk communication; especially in emergency settings and mental health consultations. I am also in the process of developing a programme of work on adults with physical and psychological multi-morbidity.

I am a Coordinating Supervisor Training for the Qualification in Health Psychology (Stage 2). I would be happy to consider providing supervision to students who are eligible to enrol on the Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology via the independent route.

Funding

  • Taylor JP, Killen A, Flynn D, O’Brien N. Feasibility and acceptability of a dementia with Lewy bodies support and information group. The Lewy Body Society, (1st Apr 2017 to 30th March 2019): £50,000
  • Flynn D, Thomson RG. Delivery of decision aids to the NHS: COMPASS as proof of concept. MRC Funded Proximity to Discovery: Development scheme, (Nov 2016-Apr 2017): £8,388 
  • Flynn D. Development of a research application to the NIHR on person-centred care interventions for common patterns of psychological and physical multi-morbidity. IHS Strategic Investment Funding; (Apr 2016 - Oct 2016); £11,697 
  • De Brún A and Flynn D. Impact of a Shared Decision Making Film about Depression: Qualitative investigation of the processes and therapeutic value of co-production Faculty of Medical Sciences Engage, Evaluation Fund, Newcastle University; July 2015; £5,000 
  • Ford G, Price C, White P, McMeekin P, Vale L, Exley C, Flynn D, Snooks H, Russell I, Tyrrell P, Fell P, Dodd P. Promoting Effective And Rapid Stroke Care (PEARS). NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research (RP-PG-1211-20012) Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals, Northumbria Healthcare, North East Ambulance Service and Newcastle University: April 2014 – March 2019; £1,938,941
  • Thomson RG, Lancsar E, Flynn D, Ternent L, Rodgers H, Price C, Ford GA.  Understanding clinicians’ decisions to offer intravenous thrombolytic treatment to patients with acute ischaemic stroke: a discrete choice experiment.  National Institute for Health Research, Health Services and Delivery Research Programme,  (Project:12/5001/45), 1st April 2013- 31st March 2015; £241,345
  • Flynn D and Thomson RG. Dissemination of a Computerised Decision Aid for Stroke Thrombolysis (COMPASS) in Acute Stroke Care. Faculty of Medical Sciences: Research and Enterprise Funding to facilitate commercial relationships and business-facing activities, Newcastle University, 2014, £2,500
  • Flynn D and De Brún A. Development of educational film about shared decision making in primary care for depression. Faculty of Medical Sciences, Public and Patient Engagement and Involvement. Newcastle University, 1st June to 21st Dec 2014, £1,030
  • Flynn D, Thomson RG. Developing interventions to support shared decision making in mental healthcare for working age adults with depression. NIHR Research Capability Funding: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and NHS North of Tyne, Oct 1st 2012-Sep 30th 2013; £51,000
  • van Schaik P. Kusev P, Davies M. A behavioural study of online healthcare-provider choice. British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants, 25/08/2014 to 24/02/2016; £9,219.
  • Thomson RG, Flynn D, Ford GA. Implementing a Computerised Decision Aid for Stroke Thrombolysis (COMPASS) in Acute Stroke Care. North of England Cardiovascular Network, Feb 2013-June 2013; £7,500
  • Flynn D. Development of educational DVD: Shared Decision Making and Mental Health. Faculty of Medical Sciences: Seed corn funding for PPE, Newcastle University, 2012-2013, £2,000
  • van Wersch A, van Schaik P,  Flynn D, Barker P. Breast Cancer: Prevention and Education. University of Teesside Research Doctoral Scholarships, 2008-2011; ~£100,000
  • Flynn D, van Wersch A, van Schaik P. Development of scoliosis education tools. Department of Health: Specialised Commissioning Group for Spinal Deformities, July 2005; £1,500
  • Blackman T, van Schaik P, Hobbs B, Fencott C, Calderon C. (2003-2006), Using virtual reality technology to empower people with dementia: Accessing and using public spaces. PPP Foundation, £147,000

Current Projects

Implementation of a Computerised decision aid for stroke thrombolysis (COMPASS)- MRC Proximity to Discovery Funding

  • development of a platform to enable use of COMPASS in the NHS and EU health systems, In collaboration with Fr3dom health

Supporting patients and healthcare staff to improve patient safety: Developing a Supported Implementation Package for ThinkSAFE (NENC AHSN)

  • Building of a business model of sustainability for ThinkSAFE in order to promote and spread effective implementation of ThinkSAFE at scale, whilst producing the resources to do so

    Promoting Effective and Rapid Stroke (PEARS) Care (NIHR PgFAR)

    • development and evaluation of an extended paramedic role in acute stroke care
    • statistical modelling to inform service re-design for thrombectomy (informed by a Delphi survey, discrete choice experiment and systematic review with meta-analysis)

    Facilitating informed decision making in haemato-oncology (NIHR PgFAR)

    • development and delivery of high-quality personalised information about the range of therapy options available for chronic haematological malignancies and their likely consequences to patients, clinicians and commissioners

    Development of a Lewy-body dementia information and support group (Lewy Body Society Grant)

    • Feasibility study of a theory- and evidence-based psychoeducational support group delivered in the community setting for impacting on psychological well-being of patients and carers

    Development and evaluation of a mimic probability score to improve the precision of pre-hospital stroke recognition (Stroke Association)

    • Phased study to develop a decision support tool for use by ambulance personnel to identify stroke mimics from suspected stroke patients at the scene: Prehospital Stroke Mimic (PaStraMi) Study

    Developing a pathway of care supporting long-term physical activity post stroke (Stroke Association)

    • Development and evaluation of theory-based physical activity behaviour intervention for stroke survivors for delivery by physiotherapists

    Interrupted time series to establish any geographical, regional or service level variation in use of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) for stroke patients (unfunded)

    Identification of a threshold to define excessive emergency calls from care homes (unfunded)

    • Analysis of routinely available data to construct a statistical model of factors involved in 999 emergency calls
    Collaborations

    2015 – date: Expert Panel Member. Decision support tools for motor neurone disease multidisciplinary care. Macquarie Neurology Motor Neurone Disease clinic, Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science (CHRIS), Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia

    2015 – 2016: North East Mental Health Development Unit. Evaluation of Finchale College’s Joint Transition Support Service for Medically-discharged Veterans and their Families. 

    2015 – date: Expert Panel Member (Behaviour Change) for the Consensus Exercise as part of the following MRC-funded Project: Designing and evaluating theory-based interventions: developing and testing a methodology for linking behaviour change techniques to theory, University College London: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/behaviour-change-techniques/People/Study2Experts

    2014- date:  North of England Mental Health Development Unit. Living Well with Dementia: A Participation and Engagement Programme for People with Dementia and their Carers. Getting the most out of your consultations: the value of shared understandings and decisions. see development and evaluation report 2015

    2013 - 2014: Interventionist: delivery of an intervention to primary care practitioners for the IDEA trial - targeting improvement in six underperformed clinical behaviours highlighted in NICE’s quality standards for type 2 diabetes. http://research.ncl.ac.uk/idea/

    2012: Co-author of two brief decision aids for the Making Good Decisions in Collaboration (MAGIC) Programme, Health Foundation. 

    1. Plantar fasciitis: http://www.patient.co.uk/decision-aids/plantar-fasciitis-decision
    2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: http://www.patient.co.uk/decision-aids/carpal-tunnel-syndrome-decision

    Previous Projects at Newcastle University

    Development and Assessment of Services for Hyper-acute Stroke (DASH)
    Project Leader(s): Professor Gary Ford (IAH), Professor Richard Thomson, Professor Martin White

    • To determine the views of clinicians, the public, stroke patients and their relatives/carers about the risks and benefits of thrombolysis and other hyper-acute treatments and how to engage patients and families in decision-making. This work led to the development of a computerised decision aid for stroke thrombolysis (COMPASS).

    Current Supervisory Duties

    • PhD supervisor, Graham McClelland (Institute of Neuroscience, Stroke Research Group), Development of stroke mimic probability score for use in the pre-hospital setting. Stroke Association Fellowship (2015-2018)
    • Academic mentor for NIHR post-doctoral lecturer: Dr Sarah Moore, Stroke Research Group, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
    • MRes co-supervision (with Dr Sarah Moore), Lucy Bednall - An exploration of potential facilitators and barriers to change in long-term physical activity behaviour in community dwelling stroke survivors
    • Internal PhD assessor x 2, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University
    • External PhD assessor,  Teesside University

    Previous Supervisory Experience (primary supervisor):

    Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology Co-ordinating supervisor (2016-17)

    • Dr Suzanne McDonald, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University

    MSc in Psychology (Foundations in Clinical and Health Psychology), School of Psychology, Newcastle University:

    • Samouelle, A: Exploring the barriers faced by stroke survivors and their families when accessing psychological therapies.
    • Ayres M: A systematic review of quality of life measures for adults with autistic spectrum disorders.
    • Lyons NEA: service users about their perceptions of what would be important in interventions to tackle stigma.
    • Sluman RE: Evaluating the impact of an educational DVD on attitudes and knowledge of depression and shared decision making.

    MSc projects (Health Sciences and Health Psychology): Teesside University

    • Association between deprivation and care pathway in pancreatic cancer
    • Vaginal ultrasonography versus endometrial biopsy for diagnosing endometrial cancer in women presenting with postmenopausal bleeding
    • Efficacy of percutaneous needle fasciotomy in the palm for Dupuytren’s disease
    • The Lived Experience of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Exploring the Impact of Aromatherapy on the Biopsychosocial Well-being of People with Multiple Sclerosis
    • The Lived Experience of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Exploring the Impact of Reflexology on the Biopsychosocial Well-being of Terminally ill Cancer Patients

    Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Teesside University

    • The BIRT Memory and Information Processing Battery (BMIPB): Development of Normative Data for 11 to 16 year olds
    • Nurses’ attachment style and perceptions of challenging behaviour in older adults

    Reviewing Activity

    • Grant proposal reviewer for NIHR - Programme Grant for Applied Research (PGfAR) and Research for Patient Benefit Programme (RfPB)
    • Book reviewer for Wiley
    • Reviewed articles for the following journals (Implementation Science; Journal of General Internal Medicine; Journal of Psychiatry [open access]; Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities; BMC Health Services Research; Critical Public Health; Annals, Academy of Medicine, Singapore)

    Teaching

    Current

    Tutor - PSY8035: Research Methods in Applied Psychology, MSc in Psychology (Foundations in Clinical and Health Psychology), School of Psychology, Newcastle University (2014- date)

    • Sessions: Research Skills and Project Management, Service Improvement and Audit, Systematic Reviews

    Tutor - HSC8048: Health Care Quality, Public Health & Health Services Research. Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University (2015-date)

    • Session: Shared Decision Making

    Guest Lecturer: Health Psychology in Action; MSc Health Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Northumbria (2012-date)

    • Shared Decision Making: How Can Health Psychology Contribute to Patient Choice in the NHS?

    Guest Lecturer: MSc Health Psychology, School of Psychology, Teesside University (2013-date)

    • Shared Decision Making: How Can Health Psychology Contribute to Patient Choice in the NHS?


    Previous Teaching Experience

    2009 Guest Lecturer:

    • Essential Junior Rotation (EJR) in Public Health Medicine (Alcohol as a Case Study), MBBS Curriculum at Newcastle University

    2009 Visiting Lecturer:

    • UCPCE Designing Research Projects, Joint Health Unit, NHS Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale

    2008-2009: Research Tutor, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Teesside University):

    • Advanced Design for Clinical Psychological Research Methods; Advanced Psychological Research Methods [module leader]; and Thesis Supervision

    2005-2009: Senior Lecturer in Research Methods (Teesside University):

    • Undergraduate Modules (Skills for Appraising Evidence; Dissertation Preparation; and Appraising Evidence for Practice)
    • Post-graduate Modules (Practical Research Methods for Allied Health Professionals [Module leader], Designing Research Projects)

    2002-2005: Lecturer in Psychology (Teesside University):

    • Undergraduate Psychology Modules (Social Development and Social Worlds; Psychology and Crime; and Research Methods III)
    • MSc Health Psychology Modules (Module leader for two modules: Health Psychology - Context, Models and Applications; and Models of the Person)

    Publications