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The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of just 15 NHS Trusts/Foundation Trusts in England to be appointed to run a local branch of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network, it was announced today.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network is the clinical research delivery arm of the NHS.  It provides funding to hospitals and surgeries to pay for research nurses, scans, x-rays and other costs associated with carrying out clinical research in the NHS. 

The Network helps to increase the opportunities for the South West Peninsula patients to take part in clinical research, ensures that studies are carried out efficiently, and supports the Government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences by helping companies to carry out vital clinical research into potential life-saving new treatments and improved ways to diagnose illnesses in the NHS.

Since April, the NIHR Clinical Research Network has been carrying out a rigorous selection process to identify the NHS Trusts/Foundation Trusts to run its 15 local branches across England.  The process was open to all NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts in the region.

As the chosen Trust for the South West Peninsula, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be awarded a five year contract from the Department of Health through the NIHR, and will take responsibility for distributing £12 million of funding per year, to support clinical research across the whole area.

Commenting on the appointment, Angela Pedder, RD&E Chief Executive, said:  “I am delighted that the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has been chosen to help drive clinical research forward in the South West Peninsula.  The RD&E has a good track record for involving patients in clinical research.  . We now look forward to building on this experience and working collaboratively with other NHS organisations so that, together, we can increase the numbers of patients participating in clinical research, and bring benefits to patient care throughout the South West Peninsula.”


The Chair of the selection panel, Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said:  “The host organisations are our local administrative branches – but they are so much more than that.  They will help to set the level of ambition for clinical research delivery locally, and assist us in making sure that clinical research occupies the place it deserves in the day-to-day work of the NHS. We were extremely impressed with the commitment shown by Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital NHS Foundation Trust during the selection process, and I very much look forward to working with them to increase the opportunities for patients to participate in research, and develop the treatments of the future.”

Clinical research provides evidence about “what works” and on how the NHS can best use its resources to provide better treatments for NHS patients across all areas of medicine.  The promotion, conduct and use of clinical research is included in the NHS Constitution, which pledges that patients will be informed of research studies in which they may be eligible to participate.

Last year, more than 630,000 patients took part in clinical research studies supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network.



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