Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature The BMJ Awards 2016


BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 04 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i1841
  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist
  1. London, UK
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}

The teams nominated for this year’s award have been enabling research as well as putting evidence into practice to improve quality, Nigel Hawkes reports

South West Anaesthesia Research Matrix

“Anaesthetists think of research as dry and on the side, done at the lab bench by geniuses,” says Gary Minto, consultant anaesthetist at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. “We wanted to change that, so they see it as something everybody should be doing as part of their job of looking after patients in theatre.”

But outside the highly academic stream provided by the National Institute for Health Research, there has historically been little opportunity for anaesthetists—or perioperative physicians, the term Minto prefers—to engage in research. Those at registrar level were concentrating on their careers, with short duration posts and a lack of credibility to lead a large project holding them back.

The solution was to set up a regional network to carry out research and audit across six centres in south west England—the South West Anaesthesia Research Matrix (SWARM). Over the past four years the network has run 10 high quality collaborative projects, held annual research training meetings, and widely presented and published its results. Results are published under the group name SWARM rather than as individual authors.

“We’re still poor in the UK at collecting outcomes,” says Minto. “Things like complication rates, patient experience, and finding out a year down …

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