Head Injury Research Fellow

Job Description

Title: Head Injury Research Fellow

Hours: One day per week

Place of work: The Helipad, Royal London Hospital

Responsible to: Director, The Institute of Pre-Hospital Care
                          Clinical Lead, Pre-Hospital Care, Barts Health NHS Trust

Tenure: 2 years

Pay Scale: Commensurate with the seniority of the applicant (NHS salary scales)

Role Description

We are seeking an enthusiastic and exceptionally motivated doctor to join our research team. The post-holder would focus their activity on improving the care of head injured patients in the prehospital phase of care and beyond by creating a research profile for our service in this area.

Injuries to the brain remain the leading cause of death from traumatic injury despite many advances in trauma systems nationally and internationally. It is increasingly recognised that for many patients, outcome from injury is determined in the minutes following the impact. Over many years the traditional approach to the management of such patients was the rapid transfer of patients to hospital for emergency brain surgery. More recently the importance of hyper-acute interventions such as airway support and the correction of brain injury induced dysventilation has been re- emphasised. Our own team has rejuvenated the concept of impact brain apnoea as a key phenomenon determining outcome in this early phase.

Outcomes for patients who suffer the long term effects of traumatic brain injury can be devastating. The impact on their lives and those of their loved-ones is enormous. As a service we believe that this devastation can be avoided or minimised with exemplary early care. The outlook for future patients can be much brighter where there is a focus on clinical excellence but also on research that will define practice in the future.

There are multiple novel opportunities for research in the Prehospital phase of head injury care and the post-holder would work with our team in defining and delivering on key strategic objectives.

Our academic profile has been world-leading in the specialty area, with an extensive portfolio of publications that have influenced practice and standards globally. We have pioneered many of the key innovative therapies in the prehospital phase, particularly in pre-hospital trauma care, including novel endovascular treatments. We are due to embark on a trial of prehospital Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in 2019.

In 2013, the Institute of Prehospital Care at London’s Air Ambulance was created to deliver bespoke undergraduate and postgraduate education programmes.

In transforming our research programme our key overall challenges are to:

  • Understand the human response to trauma in the first minutes after injury
  • Deliver precision pre-hospital resuscitation through novel diagnostics, stratification and decision support tools
  • Improve survival and long-term outcomes through novel and targeted pre-hospital interventions
  • Define and deliver the optimal health response to future terrorist events and major incidents

In 2018 we undertook a series of steps aimed at improving our research infrastructure including the appointment of a research lead who will be delivering this improved capability therefore facilitating specific work streams such as this. Our ability to collect data is improving with a renewed focus on information technology and database activity.

Specifically for head injured patients we have defined a series of areas for research and the successful applicant would be encouraged to contribute to and develop a portfolio across a number of agreed projects.

Person Specification

We are looking for a doctor who is capable of working independently but with exceptional team working skills. Applicants should demonstrate a background in a specialist area related to Prehospital care and a prior interest in the area of head injury. Applicants should have a knowledge of head injury that extends beyond that of core prehospital sub specialty training, and be able to demonstrate this in their application.

This appointment would be for research only and does not include a clinical component however depending on the background and skill of the successful applicant, local opportunities could be created for a clinical commitment. This will be negotiated separately.

Further Background

Our prehospital service is provided in partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust and the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Clinical governance, leadership and  support are provided by Barts Health. Research governance is provided by Barts Health NHS Trust and Queen Mary University London... Paramedics are provided by the London Ambulance Service. Our charity plays a vital role in delivering many aspects of the service including the essential helicopter and rapid response car assets, and also an infrastructure that enables excellent care to be delivered to patients. The post-holder would enter into the relevant contract arrangements to meet the requirements of the Barts Health/ Queen Mary University information governance regulations

In 2017, the service increased its consultant number to a total of 16, with most working a 3PA annualised rota commitment. This was a strategic step to increasing specialist consultant care to an increasing number of patients. We have recently modified our flight paramedic programme and have enhanced the opportunities for physicians in training who undertake secondments within our prehospital service. Our Physician Response Unit (PRU) has been restructured and delivers a novel and award-winning team to patients in East London.

In addition to our consultant team, there are innumerable opportunities for research within our group of paramedics, nurses, non-consultant grade doctors and others. There are significant opportunities for collaboration with multiple services and organisations.

Key deliverables and key working relationships

  • To initially explore and refine the strategy for pre-hospital head injury research in our service
  • To establish relationships with our clinical and research teams to maximise opportunities
  • To gather support for, and author research proposals for specific subject areas
  • To secure funding in support of your research programme
  • To implement pre-hospital head injury research studies
  • Working with our flight paramedics, the London Ambulance Service and others, to establish a programme of technological advancement so that the opportunities for visualization of patients from scene to the emergency operations centre are maximised
  • Working with our helipad team and charity team
  • Working relationships with the research and clinical governance teams at Barts Health and QMUL
  • Working relationships with the team at the Centre for Trauma Sciences, QMUL
  • Working relationships with the Institute of Pre-Hospital Care team and education staff at the Institute for Health Science Education, QMUL


The post-holder will be encouraged to develop their own academic portfolio with opportunities to further their academic career. This will include time negotiable within the job plan for development:

  • As a clinical academic role model (BMA 2014)
  • As a researcher with a personal profile
  • Of your research career 
  • Of your leadership skills in research (NIHR)
  • To input into educational programmes of The Institute of Pre-Hospital Care

Personal Specification

Applicants are asked to write a personal statement outlining their reasons for wishing to undertake this role together with a copy of an up to date curriculum vitae and supporting personal statement. 

Closing date for applications is Monday 18th March 2019, with interviews provisionally taking place in the week commencing 25th March 2019. 

Informal enquiries should be directed by email to Dr Gareth Grier, Institute Director via SyedaNadiya.Begum@bartshealth.nhs.uk