What impact does ADR UK’s work have?

We therefore measure impact according to the effects that the research we enable has on public policy, and in turn on the lives of the people that these policies effect. Impact in this sense therefore means tangible real-world change that makes a positive difference to life in the UK.

Alongside impact on policy outcomes, it is also important to ADR UK that we have a lasting impact on the underlying process by which administrative data is accessed for research and used to inform policy, strengthening the link between academics and government and creating a sustainable research resource. In this way, ADR UK can have a legacy impact that enables others to build on our success and create further policy impacts in the future, potentially far outliving the life of this investment.

ADR UK is still young. As we grow and develop, and the research we enable begins to produce new insights into the complex relationships between different areas of life in the UK, we will showcase the impact of these findings here. Some of the impact that research enabled by ADR UK partners has already had can be explored below, alongside some examples of other linked administrative data research undertaken by other organisations, to demonstrate the huge potential that work in this area has.

ADR UK research: Improving the lives of farmers

This research was undertaken by ADR Northern Ireland.

One of the most impactful pieces of research undertaken by ADR Northern Ireland involved both academic researchers and researchers from the Northern Ireland Department for Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

One of DAERA’s key goals was to improve the lives of rural dwellers and farming communities, with prior research indicating that farmers are at a higher risk of health issues due to long working hours, physical labour, isolation and accidents. Another key target was to improve expertise and education among farming populations; in particular, IT literacy.

In conjunction with the ADRC-NI Statistical Methodological Officer at Queen’s University Belfast, this research project sought a better understanding of the health and educational issues within farming communities, linking these to DAERA policies and programmes. This allowed for comparison of the individual circumstances of farmers and farming families in order to better understand their livelihoods.

Utilising ADR NI’s ability to link data from the Northern Ireland Agricultural Census and the Population Census, researchers discovered key evidence to inform government policy, establish robust baseline information, provide evidence of need, and aid in research targeting and outcome monitoring.

This research has already saved DAERA £350,000 (the cost of conducting their own survey). You can find out more about the research and read the full report here.

ADR UK research: Tackling fuel poverty

This research was undertaken by ADR Wales.

ADR Wales’ research using linked administrative data has provided valuable insights into the connection between fuel poverty and health.

In partnership with the Welsh Government, ADR Wales discovered that those who accessed the government’s Warm Homes Nest scheme were less likely to seek help from the NHS and be admitted into hospital for cardiovascular and respiratory health issues. The ‘NEST’ measures appeared to have a protective effect, which was observed across all age groups.

This research suggested that fuel poverty schemes have a powerful impact beyond helping people heat their homes. Additionally, it led to an extension of funding for the scheme between 2018-21, as well as funding for the House Conditions Evidence Programme and the Housing Stock Analytical Resource.

You can find out more and read the full report here.

Out-of-hospital-cardiac-arrests (OHCA)

This research was undertaken by the Scottish Government (not as part of ADR UK).

Around 3,500 people in Scotland undergo resuscitation attempts each year after an OHCA. Scottish Government linked health data with data from the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) in a study which began in 2016 and has already completed two rounds of analysis. The study is expected to run into 2021. 

So far, recommendations include equipping an additional 500,000 people in Scotland with CPR skills by 2020. This could increase survival rates and save 1,000 lives by 2020. This research helps to inform policy on managing public access to defibrillators and where to target social marketing on OHCA. 

You can find out more about the project and see the full results here.

Health and homelessness

This research was undertaken by the Scottish Government (not as part of ADR UK).

It was the first study to link health datasets with homelessness statistics and analyse the nature of interactions with health services by homeless people. 

It was discovered that 8% of the Scottish population had experienced homelessness, with just over half (51%) of these people having no pre-existing mental health, drug or alcohol problems. It was also found that increased interactions with health services preceded people becoming homeless, with a peak in interactions with health services being seen around the time of the first homelessness assessment. 

You can find out more and read the full paper here.

Serial missed appointments

This research was undertaken by the University of Glasgow and the University of Lancaster (not as part of ADR UK).

It looked at the GP records of most of the Scottish population, with early analysis indicating that 54% missed no appointments and 19% missed two or more. Patients from disadvantaged backgrounds were found to be those most likely to miss appointments. The effect of gender was small, and ethnicity was poorly recorded (present in only 2.7% of all records).

Patients with more long-term conditions were found to have an increased risk of missing GP appointments, and patients missing appointments were found to be at greater risk of all-cause mortality. In addition, those with long-term mental-health conditions missing more than two appointments each year had a risk of all-cause mortality eight times higher than those who missed no appointments. These patients died at a younger age and often from non-natural external factors. 

Find out more about the project here.

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