Clinical research studies

Researchers from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) are helping to spearhead the increase in clinical research in the NHS, according to a national league table published today.

Clinical research is a vital part of the work of the NHS; it is the way in which clinicians gather evidence about ‘what works’ so that treatments for patients can be improved. In addition, there is research evidence to suggest that patients do better in hospitals and surgeries that do research - even if they do not actually take part in a study themselves.

The league table is published by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network, the research delivery arm of the NHS. It shows the number of studies undertaken by each NHS trust from April 2014 to March 2015, and the number of patients who volunteered to take part in clinical research.

Almost half of the NHS trusts across the country increased the number of clinical research studies undertaken in their trust last year, contributing to the drive for better treatments for all NHS patients. One of these trusts was Plymouth, which has had a year-on-year increase.

In 2011/12 the trust, together with researchers from PUPSMD, undertook 144 studies; in 2012/13 there were 165; in 2013/14 there were 198 and this year (2014/15) 203 were carried out.

Jonathan Sheffield is Chief Executive Officer of the NIHR Clinical Research Network. He said: 

“It’s great to see a real appetite for research in Plymouth. I would like to thank all the patients and carers who have taken part in research, and thereby made a contribution to improving NHS treatments for everyone. I would also like to congratulate Plymouth for increasing the number of studies. We know that research is something that patients really value and these trusts are creating the opportunities for patients to get involved.” 

Lisa Vickers, Research and Development Manager at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust said, 

“Since we began with a small team in 2004, research has become part of the core business for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. We have again increased the number of patients recruited to clinical research studies and continue to expand our research portfolio for NIHR and all our other research studies. In 2014/15 our total research recruitment figure (including NIHR) has been close to 7000 people - a massive increase and amazing achievement for the trust. This offers more benefits to more patients as they have access to the latest treatments in well-designed studies while helping to make a difference to future care in the NHS.”

Professor Oliver Hanemann, Associate Dean Research at PUPSMD added: 

“It is incredibly important to us to work closely with our research-interested clinical partners at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which is why so many of them hold honorary professorships with Plymouth University. We enjoy an enviable level of research collaboration which is reflected in this league table.”

Clinical research can have a positive impact on people’s lives in many different ways. Many research participants have inspirational stories to tell about how clinical research can benefit patients, their families or carers.

Commenting on the league table results, Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health, said: 

“It is encouraging to see yet again that there is growth in research activity in our health service. There continues to be a real commitment from NHS trusts in delivering high quality research. The league table recognises those trusts that have worked hard to bring research opportunities to their patients, and will help inspire other NHS service providers to do the same.”