Torbay and South Devon Clinical Researchers changing the face of health care

Photo: Clinical researcher, Laura MacKay

Published: 7 July 2020

Thousands of South West clinical research participants are taking part in clinical trials to improve patient care and Torbay and South Devon is at the forefront.

Last year (2019/2020) 23,329 participants took part in National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) studies across the South West Peninsula (Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset), of which Torbay and South Devon recruited 1,382 across 74 studies.

In addition, Torbay and South Devon was second in the region for opening COVID-19 trials and top for ensuring COVID-inpatients were offered an enrolled in trials.

Apart from COVID-19 research, the region supported 638 studies in over 30 specialty areas. Every NHS Trust, and about half of GP practices in the region are actively contributing to delivering health research to improve patient care.

The newly released data from the National Institute for Research, Clinical Research Network – South West Peninsula (NIHR CRN SWP) has revealed how thousands of patients, healthy volunteers and medical professionals are working together providing valuable knowledge to help people live healthier and better lives now and in the future.

Ian Currie, Torbay and South Devon Acting Medical Director, said: “Well done to our Research and Development team who have managed to do really well in their recruitment this year in spite of significant challenges.

“Then, on top of that, they are right at the forefront of enrolling in trials relating to COVID-19 by enrolling in the second highest number of research studies in the South West.”

He thanked all staff involved in these studies: “Although we are a relatively small centre, we are really doing our bit to increase the learning about COVID-19 and to give our patients opportunities to test new drugs. This is down to the energy and enthusiasm of the team. This has been a fantastic effort and means we will continue to deliver on this urgent public health agenda.”

Pauline McGlone, Chief Operating Officer, NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula, said: “We are delighted that staff, patients and members of the public across the region have given their time to improve health and care through their support and commitment to research.”

The following are highlights of Torbay and South Devon research activity:

  • Worked to increase commercial activity to support income generation which has lead to a high reputation for quality data management and making study management smoother with a high quality of oversight and study execution.
  • Lead Research Nurse Chris Dixon, joined others from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, and Yeovil District Hospital NHS Trust to be placed on the prestigious NIHR 70@70 Research Leader Programme to help inspire other research staff across the region.
  • TSDFT, Torbay Medical Research Fund and the Clinical School have launched a non-medical fellowship programme to increase opportunities for local staff, boost staff retention and create new senior clinical leaders within research.

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