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RD&E top patient recruiting trust in the SW to health research studies


The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has been ranked as the highest recruiting NHS acute hospital for research in the South West during 2015-16.

In the last 10 years 208,177 people in the South West of England are estimated to have taken part in clinical research studies supported by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

The NIHR, the research arm of the NHS which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, commends these ‘research heroes’ for helping to pave the way for new, improved NHS treatments and services.

Clinical research helps the NHS identify the best interventions and treatments for patients, which have the potential to improve the lives of those affected now, and in the future. More volunteers are needed to take part in clinical research if this vital work is to continue.
Clinical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) South West Peninsula,


Professor Anthony Woolf said: “We would like to thank patients, care-givers and healthy volunteers who have participated in clinical research studies and also shared their experience and insight to inform our research questions and delivery. Their contribution is making it possible for us to learn more all the time about how best to prevent and treat a wide range of health conditions and transform the quality of life and healthcare for so many people now and future generations to come.”

The CRN in the South West has reported that 21,302 people gave their time and support as participants in clinical health research studies over the last year (ending March 2016) across Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Last year the CRN supported 549 clinical studies in the South West; of which 131 were commercial and 418 were non-commercial funded by the NIHR and charities.
The CRN in the South West was ranked first nationally (adjusted for population) compared with 14 other CRNs in England for recruitment to studies for Diabetes, Stroke, Injuries & Emergencies, Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine and Pain Management. The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust was the highest recruiting NHS acute hospital site in the South West with 3,294 people volunteering to take part in studies in 2015-16.


The CRN in the South West also achieved a high level of engagement with 48% of GP practices (primary care) recruiting people to clinical studies, exceeding the national average of 37%.

Professor Woolf added: “Our Clinical Research Network is committed to creating more opportunities for more people to be able to get involved in research. For example in the last year community pharmacies with our support conducted their first clinical studies into two common skin conditions, dermatitis and psoriasis.”

International Clinical Trials Day on Friday 20 May presents an opportunity for the NIHR to encourage patients, and carers and families to ask their doctor, consultant or nurse about taking part in health research. The NIHR ‘Ok to ask’ campaign raises awareness that the NHS Constitution gives everyone the right to information about research they could participate in, as part of their everyday healthcare.  

The research community in the South West is celebrating this annual event with local engagement events to promote their research success and promote opportunities for people to get involved.

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