CHART: An Alliance for Community Trusts

In light of the NHS Constitution1 and the Long Term Plan2 emphasising the need for new ways of working, this is an ideal time for Community Trusts to join forces.  The Community is often the NHS component that falls between Acute Trusts and Primary Care and is not well understood which is mainly attributed to its complexity.  Community Trusts are not renowned for their research activity, however many have aspirations to develop and grow.

Two years ago six Community Trusts met together for one day to talk about the issues they faced and as a result suggested the formation of an alliance.  This meeting was followed by the launch of the alliance in November 2018 with  58 attendees from 24 organisations.  The launch event hosted by Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was supported by presentations from Imogen Shillito  Director of Stakeholder Engagement and Communications at the NIHR Clinical Research Network, Lucy Chatwin Business Manager Academic Health Science Network and Professor Jeremy Kirk Clinical Director for the Clinical Research Network West Midlands.  

What is CHART?

CHART is a Community Healthcare Alliance of Research Trusts.  This alliance engages with R&D leaders and research active staff and is intended to be a practical place to:

  • gain support from other CHART organisations as many Community R&D teams are very small and often work part time
  • share best practice
  • network and generate new research or innovation bespoke to Community Trusts
  • present a collective voice to national bodies to influence and support future research within the community setting

The CHART working group is composed of:

Christine Burt – Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Lee Tomlinson  –  Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust

Helen Vaughan – Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Elizabeth Allen – Leeds Community NHS Trust

Rubina Reza – Derby Community NHS Foundation Trust

New additions to the working group are:

Joanne Jackson – Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust (Admin Support)

Sarah Williams  – Solent NHS Trust

Kathryn Brown – Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust

The primary challenge faced in developing CHART has been the limited capacity of the working group to absorb this additional initiative into their already busy roles. Nevertheless, although progress has been slow, the working group have begun to make signfiicant progress. 

Completed and on-going activity in this area includes:

  • Analysis of the launch feedback
  • Development of a mailing list
  • Branding and terms of reference
  • Identifying administration resource
  • Exploration of various communication platforms such as the Hospify App or NIHR Google hub – no final decision has yet been made due to the complex nature. Email will be the main communication tool.
  • Development of aims and objectives and action plan
  • Promotion of CHART via poster presentation at R&D Forum 2019
  • Conversations with the Department of Health and Social Care and the Clinical Research Network
  • Attendance at research meetings where Community representation is requested

Who is CHART For?

CHART is for any organisation engaged in Community healthcare research.  This will primarily be Community Trusts however we welcome Mental Health Trusts, Primary Care organisations and Acute Trusts with Community activity where research needs to grow.

How can I join CHART?

Email: to be added to the mailing list

Twitter: sign up to CHART’s twitter account @CommunityHART

What are the next steps for CHART?

Regular articles and information posted on this forum

Increase CHART engagement by gathering and prioritising your ideas for action

A CHART event in 2020

The CHART group are hosting a central CHART meeting on Monday 30th March. It will be held at Aston University conference centre, Birmingham. This event is open to anyone who is engaged in Community healthcare research and there will be an opportunity to discuss community trust research activity with senior staff at CRNCC.

Our challenge to you today is to ask “How can an alliance be of use to you in your organisation”?  “What do you have to offer”?  “What would you like to learn from others”?  Please mention the Alliance in your organisations and join the CHART coversations on twitter.



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