The number of research studies supported by an NHS organisation has risen at health service providers in Oxfordshire, new figures show.
The figures show a further rise in the number of trials taking place into conditions such as cancer, diabetes and mental health supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands (CRN).
The number of studies at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHFT) rose from 48 in 2015/16 to 60 in 2016/17, giving it the second highest number of studies in England for NHS trusts which provide mental healthcare.
The trust also recruited more people – 2,537 participants – than any other mental health authority in England. It also had the second biggest increase in studies.
At Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the number of CRN-supported studies rose from 463 in 2015/16 to 505 in 2016/17, the most recent full-year figures available.
The trust manages the John Radcliffe Hospital, Churchill Hospital and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford and Banbury’s Horton General Hospital.
The figures rank the trust second out of hospital trusts in England for number of studies, third for the number of people who took part in studies – 22,154 people – and third for the biggest increase in studies for hospital trusts.
The number of studies also taking place outside of hospital such as in GP practices was 51 in 2016/17, the same number as the previous year.
The figures mean the number of studies delivered at the two trusts and in the community rose from 562 studies involving 27,978 people in 2015/16 to 616 with 28,781 people in 2016/17.
The CRN provides support and staff such as research nurses to enable trials to take place in the health service.
NIHR biomedical research centres
Research in Oxford is further strengthened by NIHR biomedical research centres at OUH and OHFT, which are investing £125m in ground-breaking research from 2017 to 2022.
Professor John Geddes, Research and Development Director at OHFT, said: “The data demonstrates that OHFT remains the highest recruiting mental health trust in the country, with a substantial increase in active research studies providing our patients with access to the most innovative treatments.
“The trust and its academic partners, the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, are committed to transforming the care we provide for patients with mental disorders and dementia and our aim is for all our patients to be offered the chance to participate in high quality research.”
The NHS supports research by asking patients and healthy volunteers if they wish to take part in trials to enable participants to access new treatment and care options, with the overall aim of improving the treatment and care provided by the NHS.
Professor Belinda Lennox, Clinical Director of the LCRN and consultant psychiatrist at Oxford Health, said: “These great league table results show that more people than ever before are taking part in research in our region.
“I want to thank all the patients and members of the public that have given up their time for clinical research. It is only thanks to their altruism that we can develop the lifesaving treatments that we need, and improve the services that we offer in the NHS.”
‘Research embedded in daily work’
Prof Keith Channon, Director of Research and Development at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and of Director the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, which is at OUH, said: “I am delighted at the increase in research that has taken place at Oxford University Hospitals, which is due in no small part to the trust’s close working relationship with the University of Oxford, other medical research partners and patients, tens of thousands of whom have taken part in CRN-backed research over the past year.
“It’s pleasing to see how research is embedded in the daily work of our hospitals and delivering tangible benefits to patients. We are committed to continuing our work with the public, GPs and other NHS trusts across the Thames Valley to carry out this ground-breaking research.
“The CRN plays a vital role in getting these studies off the ground by enabling patients and medical professionals to get involved in high-quality clinical research. It also ensures that patients remain at the heart of those studies.”
Patients are also encouraged to ask their doctor about research opportunities and can search for trials seeking volunteers at The UK Clinical Trials Gateway at www.ukctg.nihr.ac.uk.