HEALTH chiefs in Hampshire have been handed a £15 million boost to provide vital new research.

The funding has been handed to a new organisation aiming to carry out cutting-edge clinical research in the south.

The new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network for Wessex has been officially launched today.

It is one of 15 regional groups that form part of the national NIHR Clinical Research Network.

The networks will provide funding to hospitals and surgeries which are developing new medications, treatments and products to improve healthcare.

The Wessex network also covers the Isle of Wight, south Wiltshire and Dorset, and will have its headquarters at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

And the new organisation, which is being led by two Southampton-based health experts, has been handed £14.8 million Government funding to get up and running.

Professor John Primrose, a consultant surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, and Professor Robert Peveler, chair in liaison psychiatry at the University of Southampton, have taken the helm at the new network.

They are being assisted by Rebecca McKay, the chief operating officer.