IT is a massive cash boost that will help tackle the south’s major health problems and revolutionise healthcare.

From dementia to respiratory diseases and end of life care – the £19m windfall will help experts see how innovative techniques and treatments can improve care and support.

Southampton health researchers will also look to reduce increasing hospital admissions which have plagued emergency departments, and what can be done to ensure failures in care are avoided in the future.

The huge investment will strengthen the city’s already world-class reputation for research, while benefiting patients who will have immediate access to ground-breaking new models of care. The money will also bring 30 new jobs to the city, as the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust looks to recruit new research staff as they embark on this five-year mission.

Researchers will focus their attentions on six themes – respiratory care, ageing and dementia, essential care in hospital, public health and primary care, engagement with self-directed support and complexity and end of life care.

Their work will aim to look at how patients can get easier access to care, earlier diagnosis, how to reduce antibiotic prescribing in respiratory care and highlight failings in care.

Work will also be done to improve the nutrition of patients in hospital, early detection of liver disease and reduce hospital admissions, which has proved a major problem for Southampton General Hospital’s accident and emergency department earlier this year.

One major aim is to introduce Southampton General Hospital’s successful mealtime volunteers assistant programme into four more hospitals by the end of the five years, where volunteers help vulnerable patients to eat during their stay.

Southampton researchers were one of 13 research teams to win a share of £124m from the Government to tackle the country’s most pressing health problems.

The city won £9m, which will see healthcare experts from across the region form the National Institute for Health Research CLAHRC (Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care) Wessex.

A further £10m from the local health economy in the Wessex area has been added to this to ensure their work goes even further.

Professor Jessica Corner, dean of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton and director of the NIHR CLAHRC Wessex, said: “This is a valuable investment which will enable us to develop and improve the care that people across our region receive.

“Institutions across Wessex already have a good track record of working together to improve health.

“This is an exciting and important opportunity that will enable us to continue that good work to drive our health services forward. “This is all about getting research ideas and new innovations in services into practice in hospital and in the community to make a real difference.

“We are looking for what needs to be done, how that can happen and then making it happen on the ground, whether that’s helping to prevent people’s conditions worsening or making sure clinicians are making dementia assessments part of their routine checks.

“Some of the funding will allow us to roll out the schemes that have already proved successful in hospitals into the community, such as the mealtime volunteer assistant programme.

“This is significant for the city.

“It is a lot of money and resources being brought to the whole region which will benefit everybody living here and we hope to bring changes.

“It is a great thing all round.”