High hopes for NHS-funded social work research role

Social work research facilitator role will be piloted at Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust from next week

Image: Rex Features/Phaney

An NHS trust has appointed a social worker to a dedicated research post thought to be one of the first of its type in the health service.

The ‘social work research facilitator’ post has been set up by Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust with funding from the National Institute for Health Research. The role will be piloted for an initial four months starting next week. The facilitator is expected to support the participation of social work practitioners in NIHR-funded research projects at the trust in a bid to bridge the gap between research and practice.

The trust is the UK’s largest provider of community health and adult social care services. Staffordshire county council transferred its adult social care functions to the trust in 2012. The research facilitator post will be filled by Lucy Buckley, a social worker with practice experience in child protection, substance misuse and adult social care. Buckley also has previous experience of research design and statistical analysis.

Andrew Errington, the trust’s professional head of social work, told Community Care that the appointment presented a “fantastic opportunity for social work”.

“The role is another key step in growing a research and evidence based practice culture within our trust. This is key as a social work employer in delivering against one of the standards for employers of social workers in England,” he said.

“I hope that the post will make a real difference in supporting research activity which will make a difference for practice and encouraging practitioners to support and actively take part in research.”

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