A bumper year in research at Nottinghamshire Healthcare saw 1,664 people taking part in research at the Trust’s sites across the county during 2018/19.
The success has led to the Trust being recognised as the second-highest performing mental health trust in the East Midlands for supporting patients to take part in research.
Figures released by the Clinical Research Network (CRN) East Midlands, part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), revealed that participants were given the opportunity to take part in 37 different clinical trials last year across sites in the Trust and at the Institute of Mental Health (a unique research partnership between Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Nottingham).
The Trust’s Portfolio Research Delivery Team work across several key areas of research: Mood disorders, Dementia, Psychosis and Schizophrenia, Forensic mental health , Anti-epilepsy drugs and Stroke rehabilitation. In the past 12 months, the team have supported a cardiovascular (CVD) health study funded by NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands which became the largest piece of prison-based research to take place in Europe after recruiting 1,200 inmates. The team continually recruit participants into a variety of dementia research projects and are also working on the five year NEON project (Narrative Experiences Online) which is the world’s largest research programme to understand how recovery narratives (personal stories of mental health problems and recovery) can be of benefit to people with mental health problems.
In addition to helping improve treatment and develop new medicines, evidence suggests that research active organisations are able to deliver better outcomes for patients.
Research activity at the Trust contributed to an increase in patient participation across the country, with over 870,000 people taking part in research. The NHS Long-Term Plan aims to see one million people taking part in clinical research by 2023/24.
Commenting on the figures, Mark Howells, Head of Research and Evidence at Nottinghamshire Healthcare said: “We’re delighted that so many patients make the decision to take part in research. Our patients are involved in a wide range of studies but the common thread is their commitment to working with us to improve healthcare locally and beyond.
“To be recognised as the second-highest mental health Trust in the region is testament to the dedication of patients, as well as staff across the Trust who have developed a culture in which research can flourish.”
In order to continue to raise the profile of research amongst patients and members of the public, staff at the Trust recently used International Clinical Trials Day to launch the Be Part of Research campaign, a national NIHR campaign which aims to encourage more people to take part in research.
Activity across the Trust included staff from the Trust’s Portfolio Research Delivery Team raising awareness of the research opportunities on offer within the Trust for staff and service users at pop-up hubs and distributed information packs to staff.
Mark added: “It’s really important that as many people as possible are given the chance to take part in research. The vast majority of people who participate in a clinical trial have a positive experience and benefit from knowing that they are making an enormous contribution to the future of our NHS. We look forward to enabling even more patients across Nottinghamshire to be part of research this year.”