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CRN Greater Manchester team on shortlist for Royal College of Nursing Awards

NIHR CRN Greater Manchester’s Core Delivery Team has been named a finalist for a prestigious national award following outstanding work on research into rapid COVID-19 testing kits.

The team made the shortlist of six for Team of the Year at the Royal College of Nursing Awards 2021. The winners will be announced on 12 October.

CRN Greater Manchester’s Core Delivery Team, hosted by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, is made up of Research Nurses, Practitioners and Clinical Trial Administrators.

The team led the way on the nationally-prioritised FALCON-MoonShot study, which was set up rapidly in Autumn 2020 to evaluate the use of new 30-minute COVID-19 detection devices at community testing centres, with the aim of quickening turnaround times of results.

The study has been instrumental in helping get pupils back to school, allowing families into care homes, trialling face-to-face events and providing hope for people to be able to hug loved ones and enjoy leisure activities again. 

CRN Greater Manchester worked around the clock to establish the first of the nation’s 14 testing centres in the trial at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

The team recruited over 200 participants – comfortably the highest recruiting region to the trial - and the study was completed within 32 days. This enabled the devices to be used across the UK 40 days after the team’s initial input.

The trial resulted in city-wide mass testing evaluations and, as a result of this research, government policy was changed very quickly from symptomatic to asymptomatic testing. The trial has also significantly expanded testing capacity for the NHS Test and Trace programme.

Sam Chilcott, CRN GM Nurse Manager, also volunteered on her days off to give her local school advice on how to take the tests. She said: “As COVID-19 cases surged and labs were becoming overwhelmed with PCR tests, I'm proud to say my team stepped up and took on the challenge of setting up the Falcon MoonShot study. 

“The team worked tirelessly around the clock to ensure that the lateral flow tests were properly trialled and later proved to be effective at detecting COVID and could therefore be rolled out across the entire country. I take extreme pride in managing a team that not only drives excellence in all research across Greater Manchester, but also promotes and underpins research in order to provide cutting-edge treatment options for service users. At no other time in my career have I felt more humble or proud of my team, myself and the NHS.”

Professor Rick Body, Chief Investigator for the FALCON-MoonShot study said, “Thanks to an incredible effort by the NIHR CRN Greater Manchester, we were able to deliver this large study at the Etihad drive-through testing centre extremely rapidly, exceeding all expectations. Our findings can be used immediately to inform our national testing strategy.”