Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has been ranked 30th in the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) top 100 performing trusts across the UK for recruitment to research studies.
This latest ranking, an improvement on 77th last year, reflects the work of the research and innovation department, which was established to coordinate, support and promote health research within the Trust. Research is important for healthcare as it helps to develop new treatments, prevent illnesses and improve the quality of life for people living with medical conditions.
‘Research has become faster, easier and better supported with the introduction of local area support networks that allow us to share best practice and research developments. Since 2006, we have seen the number of participants involved in our studies go from strength to strength,‘ said Denise Watson, research and innovation manager at the Trust. ‘We are also seeing an increase in the number of studies under way in the Trust as we have introduced a more effective process that allows us to check and approve new studies. This has enabled our rate of approving studies to drop from 30 days to just one day in the first quarter of this year, and we have achieved this whilst keeping patient safety and the safety of data as a top priority for the duration of all studies through rigorous governance checks.’
Participants are a vital part of successful research. As part of their changes to encourage more participants the Trust introduced specific research nurse roles for each speciality, so that participants are supported by the same clinical staff member from the moment they enter a study. Over the past five years since these roles were introduced, the Trust has seen an incredible increase of 714% in the number of participants involved.
As well as providing increased support for participants, the Trust is also expanding the research areas available for studies. Three quarters of studies are national trials in which the Trust is participating, with a quarter being locally-developed research. This expansion has allowed Bucks Healthcare to increase the number of opportunities for participants as well as the range of benefits across different clinical areas.
Dr Matthew Burn is the clinical research lead for the Trust, and the stroke lead for the Thames Valley Clinical Research Network: ‘Our aim is for as many people as possible to be given the opportunity to be involved in research, which means each clinical area having a range of studies available. By participating in research, our patients not only have the chance to benefit from the latest treatments, but they are helping our patients of the future. As a Trust, we have seen many of our departments become enriched by research, and encourage staff to continue to innovate and collaborate with other researchers nationally and internationally. Without our dedicated patients, their families, carers and friends, who have been involved in our research, we would not be seeing such a transformation to healthcare in Buckinghamshire and across the nation. We are so grateful to them, for their time and their support to make future healthcare better.‘