Three regional NHS Trusts recognised as a driving force for national health research

NEAS hold the leading ambulance position in driving health research

The North East has once again maintained its leading position in driving health research, after three Newcastle based NHS Trusts were recognised for their pioneering research activity in figures published today by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NuTH), The North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) and Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) have retained or improved on their position in the NIHR NHS Research Activity League Table 2016/17.

The league table highlights the extent of NHS research happening across England and the number of participants being recruited into studies. This year’s results show that 65% of trusts across the country increased their research activity, contributing to the drive for better treatments for all NHS patients.

NuTH has retained its position as the country’s top performing trust for the number of studies it supported for the sixth year running. The trust has increased its number of clinical research studies to 528 during the last year and the number of participants taking part in clinical research rose to 12,575.

Louise Robson, Acting Chief Executive for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very pleased to be leading the way nationally in clinical research for the sixth year in a row. As a Trust, we are committed to delivering the best possible care to patients by supporting research, which can help improve the lives of people regionally, nationally and internationally. The skill and dedication of our team of medical professionals in the clinical research field must be recognised as the driving force behind this achievement and the consistently high standards set. We would also like to thank all of the patients who have given their time to enable us to carry out this important research, as without them, none of this would be possible.”

Frances Roberts-Wood, 32,an archaeological curator for English Heritage took part in a clinical trial at NuTH after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2013. The trial wanted to see if intensive drug treatment, together with additional support, improves quality of life for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Frances, said, “Being diagnosed with a lifelong condition can be difficult to deal with. Taking part in the trial has given me access to extra support to manage my condition as I get to see my research nurse every month”.

Frances has taken part in three clinical research studies and volunteers for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) to help those newly diagnosed with RA understand and cope with their condition.

Frances said, “Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are so much better today than when my mum was diagnosed in the 1980s and that’s down to medical advances and developments in treatment.

“There’s so much that we don’t know about autoimmune diseases, if taking part in clinical research means we improve our understanding of these conditions and the treatments available to patients, it's worth it."

Today’s figures from the NIHR highlight a number of regional achievements, including NEAS receiving its highest position in the NIHR Research Activity League Table since 2011/12, having climbed from 2nd to 1st position in recognition of being the top performing ambulance trust for the number of studies supported in the country. The trust has increased the number of studies and patients participating in research by 100% and 98%, respectively.

The achievement means the trust is listed as the most improved Ambulance Trust in the country for its increase in number of studies.

Paul Aitken-Fell, Lead Consultant Paramedic, said: “We understand that the care we deliver to patients must have a solid base of evidence in order to be effective and for our clinicians to have faith in what they are doing.

“This acknowledgment is testament to the work of both our team of research paramedics and operational paramedics who are extremely dedicated to improving paramedic practice both for the benefit of patients and their colleagues.

“We are currently involved in delivering the Paramedic2 trial, a national study supported by the NIHR which is assessing the best way to treat people who have suffered a cardiac arrest outside of hospital, as well as the Paramedic Acute Stroke Treatment Assessment (PASTA), which aims to speed up access to stroke treatment and improve recovery for patients.”

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, the region’s top performing mental health trust, has retained its position as the third best mental health trust for the number of studies supported nationally. The Trust also features in the country’s top ten mental health trusts for number of research participants, after 1,364 were recruited into studies last year.

The NIHR figures include recognition for commercial research activity as 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 Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust placed seventh in the country for the number of commercial research studies supported in mental health trusts, showing an increase of 67% since 2015/16.

In 2016/17 more than 34,000 participants received opportunities to take part in over 1,570 clinical research studies in NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups within the North East and North Cumbria region. Nationally, the number of participants recruited into clinical research studies across England in 2016/17 exceeded 665,000, the highest number of clinical research participants in any given year.

Professor Steven Robson, Clinical Director at NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria said: “The CRN North East & North Cumbria is pleased to see The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS FT retain its position for the sixth consecutive year as the country's top performing trust in terms of the number of research studies recruiting. It is a testament to the commitment to research in the North East that we also have the top performing ambulance trust (North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust) and the third best performing mental health trust (Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust). Our congratulations and thanks go to all the staff involved in research within these organisations”.

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