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Research team increases studies

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) has seen the second biggest percentage increase in clinical studies conducted out of all acute trusts in the country, according to the annual National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Activity League Table.

Research teams at the Trust increased the number of studies delivered by 58% in the last year alone, offering more opportunities for patients than ever before. WSFT has also placed 5th out of all acute Trusts in the country for increasing participant recruitment, which is up 243% on the previous year.

At WSFT in the last year patients with cancer, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, eye issues, stomach problems, pain, respiratory problems and skin issues have taken part in clinical studies. One study looked at the experience of psoriasis patients while using a particular treatment, while another focused on the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on patients with axial spondyloarthritis, a chronic form of arthritis.

Paul Oats, research and development manager at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, commended staff for the significant research growth and said: “This is a real accolade for everyone involved in research at West Suffolk Hospital, and I am especially proud of the research nurses at our Trust; their passion and hard work has enabled so many of our patients to participate in clinical research. The rights, safety and wellbeing of research participants are paramount and I thank all of our patients for helping us in our aim to advance medical knowledge and patient care in the long term.”

The number of participants recruited into clinical research studies in the UK in 2016-17 exceeded 665,000; the highest number of clinical research participants in any year recorded so far. This substantial rise represents a 10% increase nationally in the last year alone which WSFT has contributed to.

Nick Jenkins, medical director at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There are many reasons our patients choose to take part in clinical research. For example, you may gain access to new treatments before they're widely available by taking part. If a new treatment is proven to work and you're in the research group getting it, you might be among the first patients to benefit.

“Many people volunteer because they want to help others. Even if you don't directly benefit from the results of the clinical trial you take part in, the information gathered can help others and advance medical knowledge. People who take part in clinical trials are vital to the process of improving treatments for patients.”

The table sits on the NIHR website at www.nihr.ac.uk/nihrleaguetable, accessible to anyone wanting to understand how much research activity is happening in their local trust or CCG.

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Paul Oats, research and development manager, and the research team

Paul Oats, research and development manager, and the research team