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Case study: The PRINCIPLE of successful recruitment


A GP practice in Stourport is among the top recruiters in the country to a Covid-19 research study.

GP Dr Sebastian Morton (pictured, right) of Stourport Medical Centre, part of Wyre Forest Health Partnership, talks about their involvement in the PRINCIPLE trial which is investigating several potential COVID-19 treatments to help people possibly recover more quickly at home.

Since March 2020 they have signed up 59 of their patients to the study, which puts them in the top 10 of sites recruiting in the UK.
‘At the start of the pandemic we wanted to do something to help so we contacted the CRN West Midlands (CRN WM) about studies we could possibly become involved with,’ says Dr Morton.

‘We had been research active previously but this was the first trial we had run across all five of our sites. I worked with Dr Claire Kneebone to organise the trial in our five sites and we had great support from CRM WM - so far it has run smoothly.

It’s been well communicated and all our queries have been promptly answered by the trial team. Credit to our team that this effort has been sustained over 18 months.

‘We have 73,000 patients registered to our practices, so that gives us access to a large pool of potential participants, although obviously it’s only those with confirmed Covid-19 who can be approached.

Everyone has been pretty positive about it when asked to take part. Part of our success has been that we have been able to make it easy for everyone - our GPs can just send out a text to any patients who test positive, with a link for them to sign up.

‘It’s been really worthwhile for us to contribute to this trial - we are doing something proactive to help combat the virus, and our patients are being offered access to treatments they wouldn’t otherwise get.

‘Our confidence in what our partnership can achieve in Primary Care research has really been boosted by the fact that we are so high up the list of recruiters.’

About the Trial

Platform Randomised trial of Interventions against COVID-19 In older peoPLE (PRINCIPLE), is the world’s largest clinical trial of possible COVID-19 treatments for recovery at home and in other non-hospital settings.

Led by University of Oxford researchers, the PRINCIPLE study was set-up with the intention that drugs shown to have a clinical benefit could be rapidly introduced into routine NHS care.

Launched in March 2020, the trial is evaluating a range of potential community treatments for COVID-19 to reduce recovery time and prevent hospital admissions and deaths.

Eligible adults with COVID-19 symptoms can join the trial from anywhere in the UK, either online, over the phone or via a healthcare professional.