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NHS research activity on the rise

Published on 21/10/15 at 10:02am

NHS England has achieved a significant increase in clinical research over the last year, according to new data from The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network’s (CRN) annual league table.

The league table, which is now in its fifth year, details the number of studies undertaken by each individual trust in various English locations, and the number of participants they recruit into those studies.

The table categorises NHS Trusts into organisations with comparable characteristics, which allows comparisons to be made between trusts in similar circumstances.

Over the last seven years more than 3.8 million people have taken part in clinical research studies supported by the Clinical Research Network. More than 100,000 people have participated in commercial contract research over the past five years.

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust achieved the largest increase in research activity, with 52 additional studies on the previous year, followed by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust with a 40 study increase and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust with 40 extra studies.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust rounded out the top five, achieving 37 and 35 study increases respectively.

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is currently high in the table for the fourth year running for quantity of research with 486 studies, increasing by seven studies from 2014.

The research also revealed Care and Mental Health Trusts are also among the top ten trusts that have achieved the largest percentage increase in the amount of research studies undertaken.

George Freeman MP, parliamentary secretary of state for Life Sciences, says: “It is great to see that life science research activity across the NHS in England continues to grow. It is only through the fantastic work that the National Institute for Health Research does that we can help to develop exciting new 21st Century cutting edge treatments and technologies. Our world class NHS research infrastructure is not only benefiting patients but attracting huge investment to the UK and ensuring we remain a life science powerhouse."

NIHR CEO Dr Jonathan Sheffield views the league table as evidence of the growing profile of research throughout the NHS. He comments: "This year we’re able to report that for the third year running, over 600,000 people took part in clinical research studies in the NHS in England.

“Nearly 35,000 of that total were recruited to studies sponsored by the life sciences industry, showing a 35 per cent increase in one year, which is a fantastic achievement. The NIHR Clinical Research Network continues to support more studies year on year; last year it supported nearly 5,000 studies – a 5% increase on the previous year.”

Yasmita Kumar

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