More than 6,500 volunteer for Buckinghamshire research
New figures show that more than 6,500 participants volunteered for health research studies supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network in Buckinghamshire last year.
A total 5,337 participants took part in 58 studies at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust in the 12 months from April 2021.
A total 1,199 participants also took part in 20 studies in the community and mental health care, including trialling possible treatments for COVID-19.
Among the studies participants volunteered for in the 12 month period were:
- The RECOVERY study which found new treatments that cut deaths for hospitalised COVID-19 patients
- The SYMPLIFY study into a blood test to diagnose cancer in those with signs and symptoms of the disease
- The PANORAMIC study into the effectiveness of antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19 in the community
- The LOLIPOP study which is offering people of South Asian heritage a health check to help researchers understand rates of conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity in this community
Nicola Higgins, Acting Head of Research for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The impact of health and social care research has never been higher. We have continued to support studies focusing on the fight against COVID-19 and have also offered opportunities across all clinical specialties. I would like to offer our sincere thanks to all the staff and patients who have volunteered to take part in these studies.”
Ian Desborough, 71, from Naphill near High Wycombe, participated in a trial at the trust comparing drug ibrutinib with chemotherapy in slowing cancer growth.
Ian, diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in 2017, is now an NIHR Research Champion, members of the public who promote taking part in studies and provide a patient perspective to researchers.
He said of being asked to take part in the FLAIR trial: “I thought I’d won the jackpot. The nurse said she had never seen anyone so excited about being told they were going to be treated with a new class of drug.
“I think patients need to look at the opportunity trials present for them as an individual. Clinical trials are critically important to improve patient care. If it wasn’t for clinical trials, we would not be where we are today, we would be back in the dark ages.”
Prof Manu Vatish, clinical director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands, said: “Taking part in health research improves treatments, the NHS and saves lives. It is excellent to see the engagement that our community has with clinical research and we hope more will be encouraged to take part.”
The figures come as results of a survey show those who responded had a positive experience of taking part in studies.
A total 93.2% of respondents said they would consider taking part in research again, the NIHR survey of 1,728 participants in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire found (see notes to editors for more).
Patients are encouraged to ask their doctor or health professional about research opportunities and view trials seeking volunteers at bepartofresearch.uk. Learn more about research at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust at bhtresearchandinnovation.org