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Newcastle Trust Retains its Top Ranking in National NIHR Clinical Research Activity League Table


Oct 28, 2016

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the country’s top performing trust for volume of clinical research for five years running.

The 2015/16 NIHR Research Activity League Table is published today by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN). The league table highlights the extent of NHS research happening in England, and the number of participants being recruited into studies.

This year’s results show all NHS trusts in England are delivering clinical research, providing thousands more patients with access to better treatments and care.

Over half (60%) of NHS Trusts and 53% of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) 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.

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust continues to retain its place as one of the top performing trusts in England. The league table shows that the Trust delivered 514 clinical research studies during the last year, which is a rise of 28 from the previous year’s 486 studies.

The league table also shows that 12,122 patients at The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust took part in clinical research.

Sir Leonard Fenwick, Chief Executive at The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re thrilled to be leading the way nationally in clinical research once again. As a Trust, we are committed to delivering the best possible care to patients by investing in research which can help improve the lives of people not just regionally, but also nationally and internationally.

“If it wasn’t for the continued hard work and dedication from our team of medical professionals we wouldn’t be able to achieve all that we do in the clinical research field. Special recognition also has to go to all of the patients across the region who give their time to enable us to carry out this important research. Without them, none of this would be possible.”

In 2015/16, the total number of recruiting studies in NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups within the North East and North Cumbria was 1,497 and the total number of patients recruited was 33,122

Nationally, 605,000 people across England took part in research in the NHS in the last year. This included 14-year- old Pascal Johnston, from Sunderland, who has Duchene Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and is currently taking part in a study being delivered by The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University. The trial is one of a number of studies researching Muscular Dystrophy with the aim to delay the onset of symptoms and extend the life span of patients.

The trial is an example of the importance of Newcastle Academic Health Partners, a collaboration involving Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University. This partnership harnesses world-class expertise to ensure patients benefit sooner from new treatments, diagnostics and prevention strategies.

Pascal’s mum, Linda, said: “We had to weigh up the pros and cons and to know that it was as safe as safe can be. We were going into the unknown, along with the doctors, and Pascal had to come first.

“So for my part as Pascal’s mam it gives me hope. It’s not a cure but it’s hope! I discussed with Pascal that it may well be that at the end of the trial, this particular trial anyway, that they might not achieve what they hope to achieve, however, it won’t be a disaster because it will advise and steer them in other directions and to try other things.”

Pascal added: “I find it interesting and nice to meet other people who are on this trial and the doctors are really nice as well.”

Professor Stephen Robson, Clinical Director at NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria, said: “It’s fantastic to see all the region’s trusts and CCG’s being research active this year. There are lots of opportunities available to patients across the North East and North Cumbria who are keen to take part in research. We would encourage anyone who has an interest to speak to their GP or hospital doctor.”

This year’s league table sees the addition of commercial research activity. 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. The data shows that a record number of commercial contract research studies have been delivered by NHS trusts in England over the last five years.

Primary care research is also highlighted as part of the report, listing the extent of research activity happening in communities across the country. Last year over 42% of English GP practices recruited people to NIHR research studies.

Chief Executive Officer of the NIHR CRN, Dr Jonathan Sheffield said: “This year’s NIHR league table shows every NHS trust in England is now research active, and that over Trusts 60% (53% for CCGs) increased their research activity last year. Evidence clearly shows research active trusts have better patient outcomes, with 605,000 people across England participating in research in the NHS in last year the outlook is very encouraging.

“The league table results are a great achievement for all involved, and highlight the growing commitment to research from the NHS and patients.”

Commenting on the league table results, Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health, said: “The support and infrastructure provided by the National Institute for Health Research has helped increase year on year the number of research opportunities offered within the NHS. Commercial partnerships supported by the Clinical Research Network continue to play a key role in bringing world-class research studies to the UK, benefiting our health service and ensuring new treatments are available to patients as quickly as possible.”

The NIHR League Table can be accessed from the NIHR website: www.nihr.ac.uk/nihrleaguetable

By Emily