Cambridgeshire leads the way on recruiting patients for medical research

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GPs in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough recruited more patients to NHS research than any other area in the entire country last year, it has been revealed.

NHS research teams based at GP practices across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area recruited 5,217 to National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) clinical research trials in 2017/18.

The previous year’s total of 3,097 means 69 per cent more people in the area were involved in helping to find new treatments for patients through their GP in the area last year.

The figures come from the NIHR Research Activity League Table.

Jan Thomas, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG’s Chief Officer, praised the efforts of GP research staff, and said: “We are really pleased that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have the highest numbers of GP patients taking part in research for the NHS.

“Clinical research drives NHS developments of new and effective treatments so that together we can provide better and better health and care for all of us who use the NHS.”

“Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has leading-edge hospital-based and mental health research.

“As the local CCG we aim to match this by fully supporting GP practices to take part in research and our hosted Research Team works with patients, GPs, Research Investigators and NIHR colleagues to make this happen.”

One of the major studies taking place in the region is the Barrett’s oESophagus Trial (BEST3) which tests a new method for detecting Barrett’s Oesophagus, a condition which can indicate a higher risk of cancer. The trial tests a new sponge device called a Cytosponge which is attached to a string and is swallowed by the patient. In pulling the Cytosponge out cells can be collected from the food pipe which can then be tested. The hopes are that it will revolutionise the way we test for Barrett’s Oesophagus in the future.

Pauline from Peterborough recently took part in the BEST3 study at her local GP’s practice after getting a letter from her doctor. Pauline said: “Well I think if it’s going to help somebody else then that’s what I want to do.”

Fiona Robertson, Chief Operating Officer for the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network in the Eastern region commended teams, and said: “As we celebrate the 70th birthday of our NHS and recognise the role that research has played in its development, it is fantastic to see the growth in NIHR research activity in across the Eastern region today. This is testament to the continued pride taken by our clinical trials teams in their efforts to make sure as many patients as possible have access to research in our health services”.