Clinicians in south receive multi-million pound research boost

NIHRlogo150x53Doctors and nurses in the south have received a multi-million pound cash boost to help them transform the delivery of clinical research across the region.

The new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network for Wessex, which officially launches today (Tuesday), has been awarded £14.8 million to develop cutting-edge projects between local hospitals, community care, GP surgeries and other healthcare providers.

It is one of 15 regional groups that form the national NIHR Clinical Research Network, which provides funding to hospitals and surgeries in England to pay for nurses, scans, x-rays and other costs associated with carrying out clinical research in the NHS.  

The network, which covers research activity in Dorset, South Wiltshire and Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, is hosted by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and led by two Southampton-based clinical directors.

In their roles, Professor John Primrose, a consultant surgeon at Southampton General Hospital and professor of surgery, and Professor Robert Peveler, chair in liaison psychiatry at the University of Southampton, will ensure studies are carried out efficiently and maximise opportunities for patients to participate in trials that could benefit them. 

Ms Rebecca McKay, the network’s chief operating officer, has managed its transition from the former Hampshire and Isle of Wight Comprehensive Local Research Network, which merged with networks in Dorset and South Wiltshire to form the NIHR Clinical Research Network for Wessex.

She said: “I am delighted to be leading the research network with professors Primrose and Peveler to offer more patients the opportunity to access new and innovative treatments and generate new information to help inform and enhance the delivery of services in the NHS. 

“The network will recruit more than 30,000 people in important national studies over the next year, so this is a really exciting time for clinicians, researchers and their patients in areas across the south of England.”

In a consumer poll carried out by Censuswide last year, 93% of people in the region said that NHS doctors and nurses should always tell patients about clinical trials they would be eligible to participate in.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, chief executive of the national NIHR Clinical Research Network, added: “The network has in fact been running for a while, but from April 2014 we will be operating in a new structure that will help us to reach out to even more healthcare providers and patients and really make clinical research a part of the “day job” for the NHS – which is what it should be.”

Posted on Wednesday 2 April 2014