More than 9,200 participants volunteer for Buckinghamshire research

New figures show more than 9,200 participants volunteered for health research studies supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network in Buckinghamshire last year.

More than 9,200 participants volunteer for Buckinghamshire research

A total 8,876 participants took part in 67 studies at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust in the 12 months from April 2022.

A further 80 people took part in 5 studies at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust sites in Buckinghamshire, which provides physical, mental health and social care.

And 323 participants also took part in 35 studies in the community and mental health care, including trialling possible treatments for COVID-19.

The studies were supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network, which helps researchers make studies happen in the NHS, public health and social care. In England, almost one million people, 952,789, took part in NIHR-supported research in 2022/23.

As well as patients being offered the opportunity to participate, healthy people can also take part so results can be compared to those with a medical condition.

Among the studies participants volunteered for in the 12 month period were:

  • Investigating genetic factors that cause heart disease, strokes and other major medical conditions in the South Asian community. 
  • How best to investigate if a patient with a severe headache has had a brain haemorrhage (a bleed in or around the brain)
  • Testing body functions in people with a mental health condition, compared to those without a mental health diagnosis
  • Testing for spinal muscular atrophy in babies, a rare genetic disease which causes deterioration of the muscle and can be fatal if untreated

Paul (left) with wife Wendy (right)

Paul New was invited to take part in a study at High Wycombe’s Wycombe Hospital, managed by Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which aims to reduce the risk of recurrent strokes.

Paul, 69, has been taking part in the CONVINCE study since suffering a stroke in 2018. The study compares taking anti-inflammatory medication colchicine, which blocks proteins in the blood that aid inflammation, to standard care.

Paul, a retired sales executive for an office supplies company from Maidenhead, Berkshire said:

“On the morning of the stroke, I felt awful, absolutely drained. I drove to an appointment with a customer and when I got there, I just couldn’t get my words out. I was so confused and couldn’t think straight.

“I went home and it was a good thing that my daughter Jo was in. She called my son John and he called 999. It was at Wycombe Hospital that they said I’d had quite a big stroke.

“When I was first recovering from the stroke, I felt very slow. I had always been very active and suddenly I couldn’t keep up with conversations with my friends. Now, a few years on, I feel like I’m back to my old self again. The only thing I have trouble with is my handwriting.”

The grandfather-of-one, who took colchicine, said:

“I’m more than happy to take the extra medication and if it benefits anyone else, that has to be a good thing. The whole thing has been like clockwork, I couldn’t speak highly enough of the trial team.”

The CONVINCE trial is an international trial in which the UK has been the highest recruiting country, providing half of the overall number of participants.

Nicola Bowers, Head of Research at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

“I am extremely proud to be part of such a successful, motivated, driven and dynamic research and innovation team at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

“The key to successfully recruiting patients into clinical trials and retaining them is to offer a variety of research opportunities across all divisions. These need to be facilitated by informative and competent healthcare professionals. 

“Research, innovation and evidence-based practice should be embedded into all aspects of care for every patient. We need to continue to strive for cohesive, collaborative, strategic working with all stakeholders in order to streamline the process of setting up research opportunities nationally, making healthcare and clinical trial opportunities more equitable.

“As an integrated provider of acute hospital and community services, we are enthusiastic about sharing best practice and the success of our patient recruitment. We want to continue to work with and learn from other trusts and colleagues across the research network to increase and support equitable research activity at a national level.”

Bill Wells, Head of Research and Development at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust continues to provide mental health research opportunities for patients and the public in Buckinghamshire. This is predominately linked to the Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury, however, as a trust we continue to look for other opportunities and locations to deliver research within the county.”

Participating in health research helps develop new treatments, improve the NHS, public health and social care and save lives.

The NHS, public health and social care supports research by giving patients opportunities to take part in trials. Healthy people can also take part so results can be compared to those with a medical condition.

Patients are also encouraged to ask their doctor or health professional about research opportunities and search for and sign up to be contacted about trials at 

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Published: 27 June 2023