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Chris O’Callaghan co-leads new ACUTECare research unit with NIHR funding

15 September 2020

Professor Chris O’Callaghan, Fellow at Queen’s and Professor of Medicine, is the co-lead of a new academic unit which has been awarded NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Research Capability Funding.

The Academic Centre for UrgenT and Emergency Care (ACUTECare) is a multidisciplinary research unit addressing the challenges for patients and the NHS in acute care. The Centre brings together academics, clinicians and scientists to undertake research that will have real impact by improving patient care. The diverse expertise in the unit allows the team to carry out holistic interdisciplinary research that integrates laboratory science, randomised clinical trials, big data, technological innovation, diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic studies and health service and policy research.

This funding will allow the centre to expand and widen its research portfolio, especially in areas such as multi-morbidity and frailty.

Chris co-leads the centre with Professor Dan Lasserson, with whom he has worked for many years.

‘The major challenge facing UK hospitals is the increasing need for urgent care for people who have become acutely unwell, especially those who are old, frail or have multiple underlying medical conditions,' said Chris. 'I see this close up every day when I am the duty medical consultant in the emergency medical unit or emergency department. I have become increasingly concerned that this pressing need is not being addressed by appropriate high quality research to work out how best to care for these people and how best to structure our healthcare system to do so.

'I am delighted that our new unit will address this need directly, using state-of-the-art scientific, technological and other approaches to study these problems with the explicit objective of improving patient care. As part of this, a key aim is also to develop and mentor a new cadre of clinicians and academics to work in this field – the importance of which has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.’