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Innovative nursing support team helps to deliver COVID-19 research ACROSS the West Midlands

Innovative nursing  support team helps to deliver COVID-19 research ACROSS the West Midlands

An innovative team at the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) West Midlands is managing requests for nursing support for COVID-19 research studies in the region.

The Network’s ACROSS team is working with partners across the whole of the West Midlands to deliver urgent research studies into COVID-19. Research forms a key part of the Government’s response to the virus and a wide range of studies has been launched to investigate different treatments and to explore the development of a vaccine.

NHS Trusts and other care organisations such as Care Homes, Primary Care and Community Services who need research nurse support, can use the Application to Request Network Service Support (ACROSS), a portal to request and manage nursing requests across the Network. It aims to streamline the application process.

“We’re currently working on a number of COVID-19 studies in different settings,” explains Karen Hylton, Research Delivery Manager (pictured).

“As soon as our local Trusts and other healthcare partners began delivering the COVID-studies, we had conversations about the different ways we could support them using our skills and resources to work effectively together.”

The ACROSS Team works in partnership with organisations across the region to fill gaps in resources or capacity which might impact research.

Members of the team are now working on the Recovery, ISARIC, Remap-Cap, PRINCIPLE, and GenOMICC studies, and their involvement has helped to recruit more people to take part in this crucial research. Read more about these studies on our website.

Support has included developing ways to randomise and track patients, managing and uploading data, training staff, receiving consent from participants and taking samples of blood to be analysed.

“We are all pleased to have the opportunity to do our bit to find out more about COVID-19,” Karen says.

“It’s a privilege to be involved in research that could have such an impact on people’s lives.”

As well as the research staff working hard to learn more about COVID-19, Karen is keen to highlight the contribution of participants. “It’s amazing to see how receptive people are to taking part in research, and I hope this continues once this public health crisis is over” she says.

“Even though many participants have been through incredibly traumatic experiences, they are determined to take part in research to help us learn more about this disease.  People are very aware of the important role that research has in seeing us through this pandemic, and want to do anything they can to make a difference and help us tackle COVID-19.”

For any questions on the system, please email:


For further information contact:  Claire Hall, Communications Lead on 01902 447207.