Evaluation of healthcare policies and interventions

In the NHS, far too often we don’t know what works and what doesn’t work because it isn’t properly evaluated. In part, this is because evaluation, when done properly, should be well planned from the outset, and it is often an after-thought. In this project area, we support our provider colleagues with specific requests for evaluation projects and we improve capacity for evaluation within the NHS by helping clinicians, nurses and other health professionals understand the nuts and bolts of evaluation so that they may feel enabled to take this on themselves.

Examples of the projects we are involved with include:

1. Evaluation Learning Network

In June 2020 we established an Evaluation Learning Network aimed at supporting the breadth of improvement and evaluation work across Northwest London and spread the knowledge generated by the network in UK and internationally.


We aim to create a self-sustaining infrastructure to support the breadth of improvement and evaluation work across North-West London and spread the knowledge generated by the network in UK and internationally.


The network will be run by NIHR ARC NWL Innovation and Evaluation team and is open to anyone in the healthcare sector of North-West London (clinicians, nurses, managers, patients, quality improvement managers, members of the Academic Health Science Network, Clinical Commissioning Group members, service users, etc.).


We have identified four main areas we will act on:

(i) training and sharing of evaluation experiences

(ii) 1:1 Project Support

(iii) developing collaborative evaluation approaches

(iv) consolidating and spreading learning

In 2020, we conducted five workshops involving practitioners and researchers with different roles and backgrounds and we have supported evaluation projects across different healthcare settings.

If you are a clinician, manager or allied health professional in the NHS in NW London looking to learn how to evaluate initiatives in your organisation then you can find upcoming opportunites listed on our events page

2. Compassionate Communities

Compassionate Communities (CC) is an Imperial Health Charity (IHC) funded grant initiative that looks to help Northwest London (NWL) communities most affected by COVID-19. This programme aims to support frontline groups and organisations to deliver community-designed and led initiatives. Grants have been awarded to 20 community projects within three themes:

  • Food: food poverty, nutritional quality, culturally appropriate food (3 projects)

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing: anxiety and fear, loneliness and isolation, lack of support and access to services (15 projects)

  • Language Barriers and Misinformation: myths and misinformation around COVID -19 and vaccines (2 projects)

The Innovation and Evaluation theme will be designing and conducting the evaluation of this programme. The aim of this evaluation is to understand the impact of the Compassionate Communities programme on individuals, communities, and organisations in Northwest London. The findings of the evaluation also aim to support continued investment in community initiatives by developing a wider understanding of their impact in NWL.

3. CAPACITY Project

Live, mass events have the potential to be super-spreading as people might attend them without realising they are transmitting COVID19 to others, even if they are vaccinated and tested prior to the event. Working with statisticians and infectious disease modelling experts in Stanford University, University of Chicago and the private test-provider CERTIFIC based in Estonia, we have developed a protocol and algorithm to predict the number of new cases at particular events based on the characteristics of the venue and the ticket holders that attend the event.

Already piloted at the Standon Calling family festival in Hertfordshire (22-25 July 2021), our team is leading the evaluation of this system looking at how ticket holders found it and its value to public health decision makers and event organizers. Our protocol and modelling algorithm has been published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

4. Hospital catchment areas

The Implementation Lead of the NIHR ARC NW London developed and evaluated the effectiveness of a model of Chelsea and Westminster Foundation Trust’s (CWFT) core catchment population aimed at enhancing knowledge of local population needs and at supporting service design and delivery.

This work led to the Trust’s first ever Health Profile for this catchment and we evaluated its utility in supporting service design and delivery. NHS Providers has included this work as a best-practice example in its framework for reducing COVID-related health inequalities. The initiative was shortlisted for an HSJ High Value Award in 2021.

5. Oral Health Programme

Almost 3 in 10 children (28%) aged 5 years old, who live in CWFT’s catchment population have experience of dental decay. The primary aim of the Oral Health programme is to improve children’s oral health, through universal health promotion complemented by targeted educational interventions with children and their families. The programme started in 2019 and is delivered at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (CWH) in partnership with the bi-borough (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; City of Westminster) public health department and Public Health England (London).

Our team is supporting the evaluation of this programme focusing on the delivery of the aims and objectives with consideration of resource efficiency and impact on inequalities. The aim of this ongoing evaluation is to support its future funding and spread in other UK localities. The initiative was shortlisted for an HSJ Public and Preventative Health Service Redesign Initiative award in 2021.

"The NIHR ARC support on the Oral Health Project has been extraordinary. I did not expect the immense amount of support I received from the team. Both Laura and Grazia went well out of their way to not only teach me the fundamentals of evaluating a project, but also health improvement strategies in preparation of writing an academic paper and the roll-out of our project to a new site. The team have been consistent and thorough throughout the project. I have learnt so much over the last two years and the project would not have achieved as much as it has without the support from ARC."

Laraib Ahmed, Oral Health Programme Co-ordinator @ Chelsea and Westminster Hospital