Croydon Health Services NHS Trust was the top acute trust in the country over the last year for percentage increase in the number of patients taking part in research studies.
According to new figures published by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) today the number of research participants jumped 191% to 2,544 from 873, which was the largest percentage increase of any acute trust across England.
The figures are processed at the end of each financial year and cover the twelve month between periods April 2017 to March 2018. The increase means that more patients at Croydon had the opportunity to take part in research.
Rachel Gill, a patient and participant on the PHOENIX study (the study looks at whether immediate delivery in pregnant women with pre-eclampsia between 34 to 37 weeks can reduce the risks to the mother during childbirth) in the Reproductive Health and Childbirth specialty, spoke about the high standard of care she and her son Lozenzo received. She said:
“It was brilliant as I was going in there a couple of times a week and the research midwife would see me. It felt like if anything did go wrong then they’d know straight away and help me. I was happy they got me to 36 weeks as I’ve had friends who had more complicated cases and had to be delivered.
“I was induced and delivered four weeks before my due date but my son, Lozenzo, was fine. They really monitored Lorenzo too and paid attention to him. The level of care is the stand out. Every little detail gets picked up on and you feel at ease. His blood pressure kept stable throughout. It’s around 12 weeks since the birth and my blood pressure has come down and I’m off my medication.
“I would recommend taking part in research to others as it gives you more information and puts your mind at ease. You can get stressed during pregnancy, and it was really good to know a lot of research was being done behind the scenes on making sure pregnant women receive good care.”
Across the country, a record number people in England took part in clinical research studies over the last year with over 725,000 people participating in NIHR-supported studies - a 9% increase from the previous year’s figures and a 28% increase since 2010/2011.
NIHR is the health body responsible for supporting and facilitating clinical research studies across England and publishes its annual performance figures each year, including studies funded or run by life sciences industry, or by non-commercial organisations such as charities.
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust was also the fifth trust in the country for percentage increase in number of participants taking part in life science industry research studies with a 550% increase to 39 participants compared to 6 the previous year.
Over the year, NIHR helped more people than ever to take part in high quality life sciences research within the NHS and access cutting edge treatments. Across England, NIHR recruited over 50,000 participants to health studies sponsored by the life sciences industry - a significant increase of 45% this year (up from 35,000 participants in 2016/17).
Dr Nnenna Osuji, Medical Director at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted at the increase in the number of patients involved in our research studies at CHS over the past year. Research plays an integral part in improving patient care and making sure our patients have access to the latest thinking, treatments and medicines.
“The participating patients and services are the lifeblood of our research, so we thank those who have, and continue to help us conduct these important studies. Croydon has a very diverse community and we offer a wide portfolio of studies to reflect this, providing a rich and intriguing range of areas for focus.
“Our commitment to research is also key to engaging and retaining staff at the trust, highlighting our drive to lead the way in important developments and progress in medicine. We also recognise the support we receive from our Board and our partner organisations, who have been instrumental in enabling our excellent research team to carry out their vital work.”
Research and Development Director Dr John Chang said: “Croydon Health Services continues to work with healthcare workers, clinicians, academics, and patients to increase the amount of research we do to improve treatments for patients as well as healthcare delivery.
“We aim to embed research as a routine part of healthcare so that everyone can benefit from the opportunity to take part in relevant research; healthcare participants have the right to decide for themselves on whether or not taking part in research is the right option for them.”
NIHR Clinical Research Network Chief Executive Jonathan Sheffield said: “By taking part in life sciences industry studies, patients are participating in new and innovative forms of treatment which will provide evidence for future improved care for all patients. The knowledge gained could provide the evidence to license new treatments in the NHS securing healthy lives for future generations.
“Partnerships between the NHS and the life sciences industry bring a range of benefits to the healthcare sector - giving trusts access to new treatments and funding for health research, while also boosting the wider economy each year through the development of cutting edge medical innovations.
“Health research is the key to finding new and innovative cures, treatments and care for patients. Evidence also shows research active organisations consistently deliver better outcomes to all patients they treat, not just those involved in health research trials.
“We aim to ensure research is embedded in all aspects of care delivered in England. We also wish to provide an opportunity for anyone to be involved in a health research study. With nearly three quarters of a million participants in the last year we are moving closer to achieving this.”