The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NuTH) has once again maintained its leading position in driving health research, after being recognised for research activity, in figures published by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
NuTH has retained its position as the country’s top performing trust for the number of studies it supported for the sixth year running, increasing the number of clinical research studies to 528 during the last year. The number of participants taking part in clinical research has also risen, to 12,575.
The league table highlights the extent of NHS research happening across England and the number of participants being recruited into studies. This year’s results show that 65% of trusts across the country increased their research activity, contributing to the drive for better treatments for all NHS patients.
As a partnership between the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust and Newcastle University, the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre relies on the participation of patients and public to perform pioneering research activity. The BRC award, worth over £16m was announced last year by the Department of Health and aims to improve lives through world-class research in ageing and long-term conditions.
The NIHR Newcastle BRC is to build on excellence in experimental medicine in five key research themes; dementia, liver disease, musculoskeletal disease, neuromuscular disease, and skin and oral disease.
The outstanding figure for NuTH not only supports the vital research activity which contributes to the drive for better treatments for all NHS patients, but it also highlights the value of the investment made by the NIHR into the North East and North Cumbria. In Newcastle alone, the NIHR have invested millions into translational research activity between Newcastle Hospitals and Newcastle University
Frances Roberts-Wood, (picture above with Dr Ben Thompson, her Consultant Rheumatologist at the Freeman Hospital) is 32 and an archaeological curator for English Heritage. She took part in a clinical trial at NuTH after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2013. The trial wanted to see if intensive drug treatment, together with additional support, improves quality of life for rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Frances, said, “Being diagnosed with a lifelong condition can be difficult to deal with. Taking part in the trial has given me access to extra support to manage my condition as I get to see my research nurse every month”.
Frances has taken part in three clinical research studies and volunteers for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) to help those newly diagnosed with RA understand and cope with their condition.
Frances said, “Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are so much better today than when my mum was diagnosed in the 1980s and that’s down to medical advances and developments in treatment.
“There’s so much that we don’t know about autoimmune diseases, if taking part in clinical research means we improve our understanding of these conditions and the treatments available to patients, it’s worth it.”
The NIHR figures include recognition for commercial research activity as collaboration with industry is vital to enable the NHS to deliver first class clinical research, speeding up the development and availability of new treatments, therapies and diagnostics. Within the NIHR Newcastle BRC, relationships with industry partners to facilitate the translation of science into patient benefit is a high priority and has already produced a number of positive developments.
In 2016/17 more than 34,000 participants received opportunities to take part in over 1,570 clinical research studies in NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups within the North East and North Cumbria region. Nationally, the number of participants recruited into clinical research studies across England in 2016/17 exceeded 665,000, the highest number of clinical research participants in any given year.