Content Owners: Administrator Content Review Period: Never Show Review Info: Yes

The NHS aims to provide the highest quality healthcare services possible. Research helps ensure that high-quality service provision is supported by evidence-based practice.

The Research Team work to make sure that any research that takes place involving patients, service users and staff is of the highest quality.

Research studies looking for participants

Minder Healthcare Management Study

The use of medical devices is increasing, so researchers at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust want to hear from a wide variety of people to ensure future assistive technology is inclusive and easily accessible to all. All data collected in this public survey will be anonymised and will inform an important aspect of a much larger research project called MINDER - Health Management Study.

Who can take part

Anyone (staff, service users, carers, and their families/friends) aged 18 and over, regardless of your experience or knowledge of medical devices.

The survey is online and will take around 10 minutes to complete.

If taking part in the survey, please remember to select Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust when asked ‘Where did you hear about this survey?'

ELSA study: EarLy Surveillance for Auto-immune diabetes

The ELSA study is testing children (aged 3–13 years) to find markers in the blood (autoantibodies) which will indicate their risk of getting type 1 diabetes in the future. The ELSA study wants to find children with antibodies so that help can be provided sooner by:

• stopping high risk children from becoming too unwell, by starting treatment sooner

• offering further research studies that monitor children's risk over time

• trialling new treatments which aim to delay the start of type 1 diabetes

Who can take part? 

Children aged 3–13 years. Full details are available on the Elsa website.

If you are interested in taking part but prefer not to do finger stick testing at home, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

REDUCE - Carbon

This study is looking to see if knowing the carbon footprint of inhalers would influence HCP prescribing choices for people with Asthma or COPD. Taking part involves completing a short,10 minute online anonymous questionnaire.

Who can take part? All healthcare professionals can take part. You don't need to be a prescriber or currently working with respiratory patients but you do need to have a basic understanding of respiratory guidelines. Find more information on the website.

Current research studies

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust has a diverse range of services and different types of research projects which take place across the Trust in a variety of settings including inpatient units, clinics, GP surgeries and patient homes.

Our own research

Here are some examples of research studies led by staff at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

Re-ASCed Research – Realist Evaluation of Autism Service Delivery

The Re-ASCed study was a national research project that aimed to examine existing models of Autism diagnosis and to investigate which approaches offer the most timely, cost-effective, high quality and child and family friendly solutions.

Feasibility study in music and dementia

This six-month partnership project was joint-funded and delivered by SCFT and the charity Wishing Well, and led by the SCFT Lead Dementia Nurse at a Community Hospital.

Speech and Language: developing an intervention together

This research programme aims to develop and trial a complex intervention for pre-school children with co-occurring features of a speech sound disorder (SSD) and developmental language disorder (DLD).

Eating and Drinking Ability Classification System for Individuals with Cerebral Palsy

We developed the Eating and Drinking Ability Classification System for people with cerebral palsy, by consulting with people with cerebral palsy, parents and experts around the world.

The Breathe-Easy Study

The Breathe-Easy Study provided important information about the experiences of children with complex neurodisability and their families when they used a new postural management night-time intervention.

Research findings

MOTION – Mechanised Orthosis for Children with Neurological Disorders

This was a three-year project involving 15 cross border partners, from the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. This was part of the Interreg 2Seas Programme.

MOTION aimed to develop robotic assistive technology – a wearable, lower limb 'exoskeleton' - to help children with cerebral palsy (CP) and other neurological conditions stand and walk as part of their rehabilitation therapy. Sussex Community Foundation NHS Trust were one of the UK partners and involved staff and patients from Chailey Clinical Services.

You can view the project reports via the Canterbury Christchurch University website.

EDUCAT - Empowerment of Disabled people through the User Coproduction of Assistive Technology

EDUCAT was a European-funded project to develop and deliver adaptive, open, and modular technology to promote independence and improve quality of life for people with motor impairment and neurological disorders.

The project aimed to promote a user-centred assistive technology design using co-design methods involving service users, engineers, clinicians, researchers, user-support networks and companies. A key element of the project was to incorporate monitoring of equipment usage patterns. It was anticipated that analysis of this data would provide diagnostic information on users' condition and changes in their condition. This information will improve the prescription of assistive technology, it will inform the ongoing adaptation of the technology to meet user needs and increase the success rate for the long-term provision of assistive technology. The aim of the outcome is to improve the user quality of life. The development was supported by clinical trials throughout the project.

For more information visit the EDUCAT project website.

Psychological Impact of Covid

This study, led by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, explored the psychological impact of the coronavirus and changing restrictions, its effect on emotions, behaviour, and wellbeing. The study team thanked staff and service users at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust who participated in the questionnaires for this international study. Some of the findings of this study have now been published and Prof Shanaya Rathod, Consultant Psychiatrist at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust presented these at the Global Health Conference.

Mindshine 3: A definitive randomised controlled trial investigating two online wellbeing interventions to reduce NHS staff stress

The study was a randomised control trial, comparing the unguided mindfulness-based self-help (MBSH) app and website Headspace to the NHS Moodzone website in patient-facing NHS England healthcare staff.

The main analysis found that, compared to Moodzone, Headspace led to a small but significant reduction in stress and 37% of Headspace participants who were experiencing at least mild stress at baseline showed reliable improvements over the course of the study, compared with 24% of Moodzone participants.

The main analysis also found small but significant positive effects of Headspace compared to Moodzone on outcomes of depression, anxiety, wellbeing, mindfulness, self-compassion, compassion for others and worry, but not on facets of burnout, rumination (brooding), or sickness absence.

Secondary analysis examined the effects of Headspace compared to Moodzone on all outcomes only for those participants who reported using their assigned intervention for at least three days per week during the initial study period (approximately one month).

A small but significant positive effect of Headspace compared to Moodzone was found on stress and this effect was partially mediated by increased engagement and self-compassion during the initial study period. Small but significant effects of Headspace compared to Moodzone were also found on self-compassion and compassion for others but significant effects were not found on any other study outcomes.

Overall, the findings of this study suggest that an unguided MBSH intervention (Headspace) can significantly reduce healthcare workers' stress, and while effects are small, this could have population-level benefits. However, unguided digital MBSH interventions can only be part of the solution to reducing healthcare-worker stress alongside potentially costlier but more effective in-person mindfulness-based interventions, non-mindfulness courses, and organisational-level interventions.

If you were a participant in the study and would like to receive a debrief or any other information, please contact Heather Taylor via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Your Tube

A number of children and families from SCFT, particularly from Chailey, took part in the Your Tube study.

Key research questions: What are the risks, benefits and resource implications for using home-blended food for children with gastrostomy tubes compared to currently recommended formula feeds?

Recommendations: Findings show home-blended diets for children who are gastrostomy fed should be seen as a safe alternative to formula feeding for children, unless there is a clinical contraindication. Equality of access to home-blended diets for children with gastrostomy should be assessed by local clinical teams. Vitamin D supplementation should be considered for those having a home-blended diet with gastrostomy.

You can view the project reports via the University of York website.

Watch the animation for practitioners here

Watch the animation for Young People and their families here

Patients and public

Clinical research focuses on the way we improve and provide health care and covers a wide variety of methods and treatments. This can include medication (for example pain killers), diagnostic tests (for example blood tests), medical devices (for example epipens) and therapies (for example cognitive behavioural therapy), as well as preventative care and education.

Research is also about improving through experience, seeking opinions and reviewing how healthcare is delivered. Participating in research may involve tracking how you experience your healthcare and treatment and this could be by phone, completing a form or online survey.

The NHS constitution states that it is every patient's right to be able to participate in a research study, should they wish to and should they meet the requirements of the study.

If you are a patient with us, you may be approached and asked if you wish to take part in a research study. Alternatively, you may wish to ask your clinician if they are involved in any research studies. 

Useful links for patients and the public

Be Part of Research - A National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) campaign encourages patients, carers and the public to get involved in research and helps you find out about health and social care research that is taking place across the UK.

People in Research - Opportunities for public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research. Public involvement in research is when the research is carried out with or by members of the public rather than ‘to', ‘about' or ‘for' them. This includes, for example, working with research funders to prioritise research, offering advice as members of a project steering group, commenting on and developing research materials and undertaking research with research participants.

Join Dementia Research - For people with dementia or memory problems, their carers and anyone who is interested can sign up and get involved in supporting vital research studies across the nation.

NHS Friends and Family Test (FFT) - Research participants are invited to give feedback on the service they receive from our research team by completing a short Friends and Family Questionnaire. Please email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you'd like more information or help with completing the questionnaire.

The Health Research Authority (HRA) - Sets standards for NHS organisations to make sure they protect your privacy and comply with the law when they are involved in research. The HRA Research Ethics Committees review research studies to make sure that the research use of data about you are in the public interest and meet ethical standards.

Patient Research Experience Survey - If you have recently taken part in a clinical research study or trial, the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Clinical Research Network (CRN KSS) would be grateful if you could complete this anonymous questionnaire about your experience, so we can improve our service.

Research Champions - People who have taken part in a research study before, as well as those who haven't. They volunteer their time to help spread the word about health and care research and help research and healthcare staff understand more about the experiences of those who take part. If you are interested in becoming a Research Champion at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, please email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

National data opt-out - A service that allows patients to opt out of their confidential patient information being used for research and planning.

The James Lind Alliance – A non-profit making initiative bringing patients, carers and clinicians together to identify and prioritise unanswered questions or evidence uncertainties that they agree are the most important, this is to make sure that health research funders are aware of the issues that matter most.

What is Health Research? - Future learn free online courses – Learn how health research happens, why it matters and what to expect if you take part.

Young People's Advisory Group (YPAG), Kent, Surrey and Sussex - Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust are the lead facilitators for this group. Members are aged between 8 and 18 years old and meet bi-monthly to support the design and delivery of paediatric research. GenerationR is the national network of young people's advisory groups (YPAGs) based across the UK.

You can also check the Trust details on 'Patient information and how we use it'.

Frequently asked questions

Does Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) carry out research?

Yes. Research is part of everyday care in the NHS.

Will I be able to take part in research?

If we have a research project that is relevant to you, a member of staff will discuss it with you. You can also ask your clinician what research is available to you.

What research is SCFT currently undertaking?

Visit our current research studies page to find out more.

What is research and why do we do it?

Research provides evidence to know if treatments and care are safe and effective. It is how new treatments and knowledge are developed for better health and care.

What will happen if I take part?

There are different types of research and every study is different. Researchers will explain what's involved in their particular study before you decide if you want to take part. This could include taking a medication, completing a questionnaire or participating in an interview.

Do I have to take part?

No. Research is voluntary and if you agree to take part, you can withdraw at any time.

Is SCFT research regulated?

Yes. All NHS research involving patients is approved by a national research ethics committee.

Why is NHS research regulated?

To protect the rights, safety, dignity and well-being of patients. Your safety is our top priority.

How is my data protected?

Researchers must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, as laid out in the Data Protection Act 2018 when processing personal data. We can only use your data lawfully.

Clinicians and researchers

There is evidence to suggest that research active Trusts have better patient outcomes.

We identify research as a direct contributor to improving the quality of services and implementing models of good practice.

All staff are encouraged to participate in research, as it is an excellent opportunity to learn new skills. You can get involved in a number of ways:

  • sign up to the Sussex Community Foundation NHS Trust Research newsletter by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • become a key contact in your service for research
  • collaborate in a study on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Portfolio
  • design and carry out your own research project
  • consent to be a research participant

If you are about to undertake a piece of research, it is essential that you read the SCFT Research Guide and contact the Research Team for guidance and information. Please note, we only support postgraduate research projects. Masters and PhD students – Please contact us for advice as soon as you start preparing your research proposal.

Useful links for clinicians and researchers

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) - The research arm of the NHS and overarching entity for all publicly funded research in the NHS.

NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex (CRN KSS) - Provides the infrastructure that allows high-quality clinical research to take place in the NHS in this area.

Health Research Authority (HRA) - Provides information about developing research studies and applying for ethical and governance approvals.

Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research - Future learn free online courses – Find out how medical treatments are discovered, tested and evaluated to improve healthcare for all.

Research Support Service (RSS) - Free support for researchers to apply for funding, and to develop and deliver clinical and applied research.

Library and Knowledge Services - Can help with Systematic reviews which bring together all the existing literature on a particular clinical question, advice on academic writing and managing/formatting references and provide access to evidence resources online.

Applied Research Collaborative Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) - Support applied health and care research that responds to and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems. Sign up to the newsletter for regular updates including funding opportunities and events.

Events and resources

Research Week 2024

Research in our Communities Week was a partnership event between Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT), Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) and Medway Community Healthcare (MCH) from 10 to 14 June 2024.

The online sessions were recorded and can be accessed below:

Research Week 2023

Research in the Community Week was a partnership event between Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) and Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) from 12–16 June 2023.

The online sessions were recorded and can be accessed below: 

Performance in research

As an NHS provider holding National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) contracts, we are required every quarter, to publish our performance on study initiation of non-commercial clinical trials and our performance on delivery of commercially sponsored clinical trials. 

Order Chailey resources

The Chailey Sleep Questionnaire

This sleep questionnaire provides a systematic way of identifying sleep problems in children with severe cerebral palsy and provides useful information on which to base a treatment plan. The questionnaire can be completed at a child’s home or in a clinic.

The layout of the clinical and sleep profiles are clear and provide a comprehensive picture of a child’s sleep.

The questionnaire is divided into the clinical profile which highlights areas impacting on sleep and a sleep profile section which provides a sleep history. It is recommended that a one-week sleep diary is completed as well to provide further details of a child’s sleep. Action boxes are used to identify problem areas. Where a red arrow is ticked it is recommended that the information should be brought to the child’s paediatrician.

To order a copy: Contact Samantha Joslin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

The Chailey Approach to Postural Management (2nd Edition)

This describes an approach to assessing postural ability in children with neurological impairment and the provision of treatment and equipment using the principles of developmental biomechanics.

The book will be of interest to physiotherapists, occupational therapists, paediatricians and clinical and rehabilitation engineers, working in the field of neurodisability and rehabilitation. It includes a revised Chailey Levels of Ability assessment chart and supporting CD ROM.

To order a copy: Contact Samantha Joslin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Further information

Please contact Samantha Joslin for a current publications list or any further assistance via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 01825 722 112.

Get in touch

We have a dedicated team of research support staff to facilitate your study set up, recruitment and ongoing management.

For all enquiries:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Phone: 01273 696 011 extension 3795

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Page last reviewed: 22 July 2024