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Urgent Care Study

Helping urgent care users cope with distress about physical complaints: a randomised controlled trial

Why are we doing it:

Health anxiety is persistent worry about health and can have a severe detrimental and debilitating impact on overall health. It can lead to increased visits to accident and emergency departments, walk in centres or urgent same day appointments at the GP surgery with little patient benefit. Despite some availability of effective treatment for health anxiety, few people take it up.

Psychological therapy delivered remotely (via the internet or over the telephone) has been found to help patients where anxiety or stigma may cause reluctance to access mental health services face-to-face. Remotely delivered psychological therapy has equivalent rates of recovery and patient satisfaction to face-to-face delivery. Given the accessibility and cost benefits, remotely delivered therapy may be a suitable delivery option for this patient group.

What we are doing:

We want to help people who often use unscheduled care to manage the distress caused by worries about their health. In particular we want to find out whether Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a type of talking therapy, delivered remotely ( via video calling or over the telephone), will improve physical and emotional health and reduce health care service use. CBT explores how thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and actions affect each other and how these can be changed to help manage difficulties. We will find out if remotely delivered CBT is clinically and cost effective compared to usual care. We will also find the best way of delivering this treatment by talking with service users, health professionals, other experts and researchers. 

What the benefits will be:

This study will help us find out more about how to help the many people who suffer from health anxiety and also use urgent care services. It could lead to improved healthcare and inform government policy on the development of services which are more effective and targeted towards individual needs.

Who we are working with:

We are working with NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative who helped to select the internet and video technology.

We are working with primary and secondary health care providers of unscheduled/urgent care. This will include: Accident and Emergency departments, Outpatient clinics, GP practices, Walk in Centres, Mental health services delivering psychological treatment.

Our partners are:

  • University of Nottingham
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Nottingham City CCG
  • Nottinghamshire County CCG
  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Derby City CCG
  • Derbyshire County CCG
  • Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nene CCG
  • Corby CCG
  • Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
  • Leicester City CCG
  • East Leicestershire CCG
  • Leicestershire and Rutland CCG
  • West Leicestershire CCG
  • Lincolnshire CCGs
  • Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust
  • NHS Bradford Districts CCG
  • Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust

Study update:

We have completed recruitment to the study and recruited 156 participants, 56 participants completed therapy or had five or more sessions. We will be analysing the findings and publishing the results once data collection is complete.

Patient experience overview video

Several participants from the Urgent Care Study took part in video interviews about their experiences – here’s an overview, see below.

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints – Short Overview​ (with music)

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints – Long Overview​ (with music)

Subtitles can be switched on by clicking on the 'CC' button located in the bottorm right-hand corner of the screen. For a version without music, click here

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints: Participant Experience 1

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints: Participant Experience 2

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints: Participant Experience 3

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints: Participant Experience 4

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints: Participant Experience 5

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints: Participant Experience 6

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints: Participant Experience 7

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope With Distress About Physical Complaints: What is Health Anxiety?

Study team

Principal Investigator: Prof Richard Morriss

Lead Researcher: Shireen Patel 

Lead Therapist: Dr Sam Malins

Service User Representatives: Fred Higton and Dave Waldram

Contact:

Theme Manager: Jayne Simpson at jayne.simpson@nottshc.nhs.uk