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Improving the health and wellbeing of dementia sufferers

A Newcastle University medic is recognised as one of the UK's most promising leaders in medical health research and awarded a £1.5m National Institute for Health Research professorship for dementia work.

Professor Louise Robinson is to receive the funding for her research programme, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of older people and the quality of community care they receive, especially for people living with dementia.

She said: "National reports have found that treatment and care for people with dementia is sadly lacking at the moment. My project will look firstly at the ways community-based services can better work together to deal more effectively with what is becoming an increasingly common condition and secondly, develop training for GPs and other NHS staff to create a more skilled and caring workforce.

"It is estimated that by 2050 115 million people across the globe will suffer from the dementia, so we need to improve the way we deal with it to get better outcomes for patients, and reduce the drain on NHS resources."

Each of the eight professors will receive around £1.5m of funding to conduct research into conditions that affect millions of patients across the UK, the Government has announced.

This award to Professor Robinson furthers Newcastle University’s reputation as a world leader in research relating to Ageing and Health. The commitment to research on Changing Age addresses the challenges of ageing in order to make the very most of our increasingly long lives.

Health Minister Anne Milton said: "The professors will be given the opportunity to develop their research programmes, but most importantly they won't stop treating NHS patients. This will help make sure that new ideas make the leap from the bench to the bedside.

"We want to see medical research advance, and to do that it is essential that we nurture the very best researchers to the benefit of NHS patients."

Promoting and fostering the kind of research that the new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) professors will carry out is one of the Government’s top priorities, and through the Health and Social Care Bill the role that research plays in the health service will continue to be strengthened.

The professors were selected by an international panel of independent experts. Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Health said: "Each one of these professors already has an impressive track record, and I look forward to working with them in the future and seeing them flourish. They will provide much needed research leadership in their chosen field, and help us build more capacity and capability within the NIHR in very important areas.

"Our original intention was to appoint only five new research professors, but the international expert panel found the quality of applications so high that they advised eight awards should be made."

published on: 15 February 2012