Staffing the UK’s largest-ever health research programme: Our Future Health
Acacium Group’s partnership with Our Future Health was launched in September 2022. In 12 months, Acacium Group has;
- Recruited, vetted, onboarded and trained 500+ staff
- Supported the collection of over 264,000 blood samples
Operating in partnership with the NHS, Our Future Health is an ambitious collaboration between the public, charity and private sectors, bringing up to five million people together to develop new ways to prevent, detect and treat diseases.
The programme invites members of the public to participate by providing their physical measurements, a blood sample and completing a short lifestyle questionnaire. Our Future Health aims to collect samples from five million volunteers across all backgrounds, ages and ethnicities by 2025.
The rollout strategy of opening fixed regional sites and mobile hubs was designed to maximise participation rates across the UK.
With ambitions to engage 250,000 volunteers by July 2023, site set-up and operational activities had to be optimised to ensure the maximum number of participants could be seen each day, including weekends. To achieve this, more than 100 qualified healthcare professionals were required to staff the sites nationwide each day.
Why Acacium Group?
Each site had to be fully staffed seven days a week to achieve the required participation targets. Despite the operational and geographical challenges, Our Future Health was confident that Acacium Group had the resources and capacity to recruit, onboard and train cohorts of specialist staff to meet the maximum participant capacity of each location.
The Group had already had proven success delivering at scale, working with Pharmacy 2U to facilitate 1.9m COVID-19 vaccinations during the pandemic. Knowing Pharmacy 2U was well placed to support the programmes’ implementation, Acacium Group suggested drawing on their expertise in setting fixed and mobile sites. The well-established partnership promised a frictionless site setup and was approved by Our Future Health.
Working in collaboration with Pharmacy 2U and EMS Healthcare, suitable sites were identified in the first five regional locations. Site accessibility was a key criterion, ensuring the programme could reach as many participants as possible.
Fixed and mobile sites were hosted in shopping centres, supermarkets, and other centralised locations with good public transport links. Once each site was established, compliance, clinical governance and technology infrastructure were implemented to ensure the project ran safely and efficiently. These processes were established to protect participants’ privacy and the research data’s integrity.
Initially, 105 specialised clinical staff were enlisted for each site, responsible for welcoming participants and processing data samples to the highest standards. Every new team member underwent three-day training, encompassing e-learning, system protocols, and shadowing seasoned colleagues. This measure was taken to safeguard clinical standards and enhance the proficiency of new staff.
Paul, Our Future Health Volunteer
“Joining Our Future Health is like leaving your body to science – while you’re still alive. When you look at individual cases, you can’t really get an answer, but with a database like Our Future Health, you could look at thousands of similar cases very, very quickly. You might find new genetic variants that increase a person’s chances of getting the disease. And you might be able to develop a new drug that targets the specific defects.“
Rapid nationwide staff mobilisation
Acacium Group’s expansive network of healthcare professionals ensured that all sites, including mobile ones relocating every 4-6 weeks, had full staffing throughout the programme. Over 500 staff have been recruited, vetted, and onboarded since the project’s inception.
Flexibility and scalability
Harnessing a flexible workforce, Acacium Group adeptly adjusted to changing project dynamics. Whether it’s expanding the number of locations or extending clinic hours, the Group scaled to increase capacity, accommodating a higher number of participants. Over 12 months, 264,000 blood samples have been collected from diverse participants across the UK, with Acacium Group project leads anticipating 900,000+ samples will be collected by December 2025.
Underpinned by clinical excellence
With over 140 clinicians integrated into management teams, Acacium Group’s dedicated clinical governance function supported the project’s rollout across each site. This included tailored training, employee handbooks, business plans, and site-specific operational processes for over 500 staff.
Seamless operational deployment
In collaboration with other industry leaders, Acacium Group orchestrated a seamless operational rollout, launching shortly after project approval. On average, 1,200 appointments were managed daily. Despite the project’s scale, complexity, and geographic scope, the Group maintains a 99.5% success rate across seven stringent quality criteria set by Our Future Health.
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