The South Yorkshire Cohort (SYC) study offers a unique opportunity to initiate a programme of research into the health & weight of adults in South Yorkshire. The use of the ‘cohort multiple RCT’ approach1 offers the potential to explore the relationship between key variables from an NHS perspective: obesity and weight change, quality of life, chronic disease, prescribed & over the counter medication, NHS and non NHS healthcare resource use, ethnicity and social class. The results of this study will aid NHS healthcare commissioning with regards to obesity & weight management and self management amongst adults and will take forward the study of obesity and health in England within the academic community.
The ‘cohort multiple RCT’ design will provide:
- longitudinal observational data on a representative population based sample of adults
- up to date information to facilitate evaluation
- a multiple trials facility for hypothesis testing
- a recruitment facility for qualitative and quantitative research studies.
A two stage sampling method will be used; GP practices in South Yorkshire (Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham & Doncaster) will be recruited and patients registered with these practices will be randomly selected to be invited to participate in the South Yorkshire Cohort (SYC). SYC will collect patient generated data (by postal self completed questionnaires) and NHS generated data. For those patients who consent, NHS generated data on individual patients will be collected through conducting searches of GP databases. Further funding (NIHR) will be sought to continue the SYC over a minimum 10 year lifespan. Additionally, it is predicted that the presence of the SYC will attract further research collaboration with NHS and academic partners.
In addition to inputting into the design and management of the cohort, it is envisaged that each PCT will be offered the data pertaining to the population within its geographical area, to feed into its commissioning processes. A consultation process will ensure that nested studies are relevant to the NHS.
Relton C, Torgerson D et al.
Rethinking pragmatic randomised controlled trials: introducing the “cohort multiple randomised controlled trial” design. BMJ 2010;340:c1066.