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Exeter HS&DR Evidence Synthesis Centre

Exeter HS&DR Evidence Synthesis Centre

We are one of three research groups in the UK commissioned by the National Institute of Health Research HS&DR (Health Services & Delivery Research programme) to conduct syntheses of evidence about the organisation and delivery of healthcare.

The University of York and the University of Sheffield also host one of these nationally significant HS&DR evidence synthesis centres.

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The work

The programme of work involves appraising and synthesising research and other evidence relating to the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, patient experience, and implementation of models and initiatives for improving the delivery of healthcare and NHS organisation.  The evidence syntheses may also directly inform NIHR commissioning of new research.

The work mainly comprises systematic reviews, scoping reviews and rapid reviews, plus using other more innovative methods for evidence synthesis where the nature of the questions and evidence requires.  See our current and past projects below.

The Centre’s team

The Centre’s core team is:
Rob Anderson (Co-lead of the Centre)
Jo Thompson Coon (Co-lead of the Centre)
Michael Nunns (Systematic Reviewer)
Liz Shaw (Systematic Reviewer)
Simon Briscoe (Information Specialist/Reviewer)
Sue Whiffin (Centre Administrator)

The following academic experts in health services, policy and management are also named advisers to the Centre:

Prof Andi Smart, (Professor of Operations & Process Management, Director of Centre for Innovation and Service Research), University of Exeter Business School
Prof Rod Sheaff, (Professor in Health Services Research) Plymouth University School of Law, Criminology and Government

We also have established contacts with and experience of working directly with NHS staff and organisations in the south west region, through the NIHR CLAHRC South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC).

Current reviews/projects
Reducing the length of hospital stay for older adults admitted to hospital for planned treatment: A systematic review of the evidence
PROSPERO review protocol (CRD42017080637) available here:

Past reviews/projects

Views and experiences of the Nearest Relative provision of the Mental Health Act (1983): A systematic review of the evidence
PROSPERO review protocol (CRD42018088237) available here:

The experiences of service-users, family members, carers, and professionals of the use of the ‘Nearest Relative’ provisions in the compulsory detention and ongoing care of people under the Mental Health Act: a rapid systematic review.  (Report for the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, 6th March 2018). Currently unpublished.
Shaw L, Nunns, Briscoe S, Anderson R, Thompson Coon J.
PROSPERO review Protocol (CRD42018088237) available here:

Exploration of feasibility of reviewing evidence about different models of social work practice (for Department of Health) – ultimately not commissioned.
(see our blog post reflecting on this exploratory work)