The National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network has this week published its annual league table, revealing how many patients are taking part in clinical research across the NHS in England.
According to consumer polls, 82% of people believe it is very important for NHS Trusts to offer patients the opportunity to take part in clinical research studies if they want to do so.
The new league table shows how well the NHS is delivering on that patient expectation by showing the number of clinical research studies carried out by each Trust, and the number of patients who took part in those studies.
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust currently tops the table for quantity of research (404 studies), an increase of 83 studies on last year’s figure.
However, as the league table shows, clinical research is not just restricted to the large teaching hospitals.
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust did the most research of the large NHS Trusts in England. The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was the top performer amongst the medium-sized Trusts, while Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust took part in most research studies in the small-sized acute Trusts group.
A growing body of evidence indicates that a research-active culture brings a host of benefits to the NHS, including the development of more effective treatments for patients.
Dr Jonathan Sheffield is Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network - the research delivery arm of the NHS, which provided the data for the league table. He sees the table as evidence of the growing profile of research amongst doctors and the public, but feels there is still more to do. He said:
"Ninety nine per cent of the NHS was involved in research last year, involving almost 600,000 patient volunteers. That is a fantastic achievement, but we can't sit back and take it for granted. We know from recent polls that patients want the NHS do research, and they want the chance to get involved. Research is core business for the NHS, so we need to keep encouraging hospitals and doctors' surgeries to talk to patients about clinical trials - and encourage patients to raise the subject of research with their doctors, and see what opportunities are open to them.”
Commenting on the league table results, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health, said:
“This data from the NIHR Clinical Research Network is encouraging and shows us that high quality research is happening, but we need to keep pushing for research to have the profile it deserves with both doctors and their patients."
To view the research activity league table in full visit: www.crncc.nihr.ac.uk/nhs-performance
The National Institute for Health Research - Clinical Research Network: delivering research to make patients, and the NHS, better.