A senior doctor in Teesside who cares for patients at end-of-life has secured a prestigious national research award.
Dr Donna Wakefield, consultant in palliative medicine at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded a highly competitive Doctoral Fellowship. This is granted by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to support individuals on their rise to becoming future leaders in research.
As part of this, Donna’s research will involve understanding and addressing inequalities in access to palliative care for those with lung disease.
She will continue to work clinically as a consultant while conducting her PhD research with a supervisory team at Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre at Hull York Medical School (professors Fliss Murtagh and Jonathan Koffman) and working with public health expert (professor Clare Bambra) at Newcastle University.
Donna said: “I am delighted to have secured this Fellowship with the NIHR.
“The north-east has some of the most socio-economically deprived areas in the country, impacting on our local population’s health.
“It is not fair that those patients and their families, in most need of support are the least likely to receive it. This fellowship will give me the opportunity to spend time researching health inequalities with a focus on supporting those suffering with life-limiting lung disease and how we can improve access to palliative and end-of-life care.
“As part of this I will be able to work with a range of leading experts in palliative care and public health research, to increase my knowledge and skills in these area. We an ambition to develop the evidence-base and improve the care and experience people have across the Tees Valley.”
Over the next four years Donna will be using national linked data to examine inequalities and then conducting qualitative interviews across Teesside relating to care of patients with lung disease (lung cancer, mesothelioma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and interstitial lung disease).