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More than 45,000 volunteers from across South West thanked for taking part in research last year

“ On International Clinical Trials day I’d like to thank all those patients for their commitment to research.  We would like to celebrate your efforts and the impact they bring.  Our research teams continue to produce, working at levels previously unheard of – you are a credit to the region and to yourself – thank you! ”
Professor Michael Gibbons, Clinical Director 
NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula

More than 45,000 people took part in health and care research across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset last year – with nearly 30,000 people across the region getting involved in COVID-19 related studies.

The number of participants getting involved in health and care research across the region has increased by 86% in the last year from 24,310 participants taking part in 2019/20 to 45,293 participants getting involved in research studies last year, during the pandemic.

To mark International Clinical Trials Day taking place today (Thursday  20th May ) the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has released new data, as part of its Be Part of Research campaign, that also shows 29,843 participants from across the South West took part in studies related to COVID-19 during the last financial year. COVID-19 vaccine research in the South West Peninsula was supported by 1,751 participants.

This level of participation in research has helped create the breakthroughs in treatments for COVID-19 at a rapid pace. The Be Part of Research campaign aims to raise awareness of the difference that research could make to many more health conditions and illnesses and in different settings. Volunteers are still needed for studies into all conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, mental health and dementia to support quality of care improvements. The more people who take part in research, the greater the chance to make a difference to identifying effective treatments and improvements in the way that we deliver health and care.

Professor Michael Gibbons, Clinical Director for the NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula, said: “On International Clinical Trials day I’d like to thank all those patients for their commitment to research.  We would like to celebrate your efforts and the impact they bring.  Our research teams continue to produce, working at levels previously unheard of – you are a credit to the region and to yourself – thank you!”

Since the onset of the pandemic, the NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula (NIHR CRN SWP) has supported local health and care organisations to deliver 25 COVID-19 related studies.

The efforts of the research teams at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Livewell Southwest, care homes and numerous GP practices across the region have enabled world-leading research into therapeutics such as dexamethasone and tocilizumab, delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, and more. Ground-breaking platform studies such as RECOVERY, PRINCIPLE and REMAP-CAP, all carried out in the South West, have all made a significant contribution to the global understanding of COVID-19.

These discoveries have significantly improved outcomes for people who get the virus, especially those most at risk of becoming severely unwell and hospitalised. Without such significant support from the public, this vital research would not have been possible.

Dr Pauline McGlone, Chief Operating Officer for the NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula, said: “I want to thank all the participants across the South West who have supported research activity over the past year.  We are only able to collect the evidence through the contributions of those who give up their time.  I also want to thank the hard-working staff across all the organisations who have made these opportunities possible.  It has been a great year for research and it has shown what is possible when the need is great.  Thank you to you all.”

To find out how you could get involved in research near you please visit https://bepartofresearch.nihr.ac.uk/campaigns/Ictd-2021

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