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CRN Eastern publishes Annual Report for 2020/21


CRN Eastern Annual Report 2021 Infographic

Our year in research: 2020-21

Last year saw our CRN Eastern community face unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic with drive, determination and innovation. Working closely with our Partner Organisations around the region, research was focused on where it was needed most, and could be accessed by those who needed it most.

Urgent public health studies to find treatments, vaccines and care paths for patients with COVID-19 were set up more quickly than ever before, and the average time to get a study open and ready to recruit participants was reduced to just 7.5 days.

Making COVID-19 research happen

Funded and supported staff around the region went above and beyond, running at least one of the UK Government’s urgent COVID-19 studies at their hospitals. These included the RECOVERY study to find treatments for patients critically ill with the virus.

During 2020-21, a total of 2,828 participants (over 13% of all Covid-19 hospital admissions within the Eastern region) were enrolled to the RECOVERY study compared to the national average of 9.5%.

The region also played a significant role in COVID-19 vaccine research during 2020-21, signing up 6% (773) of the country’s participants to the Novavax trial, and making vital contributions to the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccine trials. Thanks to this participation, the Oxford/AZ is now part of the national vaccine programme.

More research active GPs than ever before

More GPs than ever before were involved in research last year, with 74% of local practices offering research opportunities to their patients. The GP-run PRINCIPLE study has recruited well in CRN Eastern, with 304 participants from 206 sites taking part. Although participation in non-NHS settings, such as care homes, was more challenging, 35 non-hospital sites also signed participants up to research.

Eastern participant numbers triple

Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, CRN Eastern recruited 122,876 participants to NIHR funded and supported studies over 2020-21, including 2,770 people to 113 commercially funded trials. More than 47,000 of these volunteers took part in non-COVID-19 studies, which received funding and support to enable them to begin, continue, or get ‘back on track’ quickly following a pause, and to offer patients the opportunity to participate in research.

Helping participants improve research as it happens

CRN Eastern also continued to make sure participants play a part in helping to improve the experience of those who sign up for research. During 2020-21, our Participant in Research Experience Survey was offered to participants of three of the urgent COVID-19 studies, including vaccine studies. 2,496 responses were received and feedback was given to the research teams immediately, meaning improvements could be made as the research happened!

Thank you to all participants, staff and supporters involved in our research during 2020-21.

To find out about some of the achievements of 2020-21, take a look at our short video, A Year in Research in the Eastern region.