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Greater Manchester hospital trusts carrying out urgent COVID-19 trials as part of national research effort

Greater Manchester hospital trusts carrying out urgent COVID-19 trials as part of national research effort

COVID-19 patients at all 10 NHS hospital trusts in Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and East Lancashire are taking part in urgent clinical trials being conducted to better understand and stop the virus. 

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in Greater Manchester is supporting each of its local partner trusts to carry-out research classified as Urgent Public Health trials by the Department of Health and Social Care. 

The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West, set up inside Manchester Central, is also delivering vital COVID-19 research. 

So far, more than 5,040 patients in the Greater Manchester region have participated in these trials in hospitals. This is part of the combined national effort which is continuing to seek research participants as part of the fight against COVID-19.

At this time, the NIHR is concentrating on delivering these highest priority COVID-19 research trials which are focusing on data, observations and treatment to help stop the virus and improve care for patients. This involves working with NHS partner organisations to set-up the trials in their hospitals and then offer patients participation by consent. The NIHR is also supporting the delivery of trials in GP practices and social care settings. 

Currently, 12 Urgent Public Health trials looking at COVID-19 are being carried out in the hospital trusts across Greater Manchester. Further details of these trials are available on the NIHR website

Debbie Vinsun, Chief Operating Officer of NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Greater Manchester, said: “In Greater Manchester we have an excellent reputation for delivering research in hospital settings, with all of our local partner NHS trusts offering their patients the chance to take part in studies, looking at various disease types, all year round. 

“In light of the unprecedented challenge posed by COVID-19, our country’s research capabilities are now being harnessed to the fullest extent to tackle the spread of this virus and our NHS research colleagues across Greater Manchester are playing a vital part in this effort. 

“The Research and Innovation teams in all of our local trusts have been working hard to get these urgent studies set-up in extra quick time and are liaising closely with their colleagues on the front line to get as many patients as possible recruited. 

“Work is taking place every day to increase this recruitment and to get further COVID-19 studies set-up in Greater Manchester to ensure our local patients have the opportunity to participate in this critical research and ensure we help answer questions about this new disease.

“We would like to thank every patient who is taking part in COVID-19 research. Your involvement is making an invaluable difference.”

The 10 hospital trusts delivering the Urgent Public Health trials looking at COVID-19 are: Bolton NHS Foundation Trust; East Cheshire NHS Trust; East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust; Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust; Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group); Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust; The Christie NHS Foundation Trust; Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Steve Woby, Director of Research and Innovation Operations at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (which includes Salford Royal and the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust), said: “Our research staff are proud to play a key part in offering patients the chance to take part in national high priority studies testing new treatments and therapies for COVID-19. We are focusing our efforts on these high quality studies for the benefit of our patients, while also contributing to databanks and tissue collections that will be used in the longer term to increase our knowledge and understanding of coronavirus.

“Well over 1,700 patients are taking part in studies across the NCA’s Care Organisations and our team at Fairfield General Hospital recruited the first UK patients into the national RECOVERY-RS study comparing the effectiveness of three methods of providing oxygen support for hospitalised patients with COVID-19, including one system provided to the NHS manufactured by F1 giant, Mercedes-AMG.

“We are delighted to work with colleagues throughout Greater Manchester, nationally and internationally to help to answer this unprecedented health challenge.”

The Research and Innovation (R&I) team at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust is another local trust carrying-out a range of COVID-19 studies, including ones focusing on data collection, genetic sampling and treatment. 

Wiesia Woodyatt, Research and Innovation Manager at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In the face of the challenges created by COVID-19, our staff have shown incredible flexibility and dedication to work in very different ways, while still ensuring we deliver a broad portfolio of Urgent Public Health research at Stepping Hill Hospital.  

“The team really has become galvanised in order to support the greater good and that same ethos has been evident across our region’s research community. We have been in regular contact with the NIHR and other local trusts to share advice and expertise to get these vital studies up-and-running as fast as possible for the benefit of our patients and to support the national research challenge.”

Professor Neil Hanley, Group Director of Research and Innovation (R&I) at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) - which includes Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe Hospital, and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, said: “When we don’t have the answers, we need research and innovation more than ever. MFT’s cutting-edge research and innovation and our expertise, experience and facilities are now being utilised as part of the urgent global, coordinated effort to enhance understanding and develop treatments for COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

“More than 2,700 participants have been recruited across the 14 COVID-19 studies we have opened, and we currently have a further nine studies in set-up. I want to thank every person that has taken part in our research as we seek to find the answers, and to our R&I staff who adapted and mobilised instantly to enable our priority Coronavirus research in challenging and uncertain times. This has been supported by colleagues from industry, academia and the wider NHS.

“Nationally, it is clear the government wants us to continue COVID-19 research priorities through the intensive care units of the major hospitals, into the Nightingale Hospitals and into the community. We need to make sure we do our best for patients and that includes how they fare longer term after discharge to homes and communities.”

  • Anyone wanting to know more about research into COVID-19, and how to potentially get involved, should go to NIHR’s Be Part of Research website.