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Northern Powerhouse Minister Grant Shapps backs NIHR Patient Recruitment Centre: Newcastle

Northern Powerhouse Minister Grant Shapps backs NIHR Patient Recruitment Centre: Newcastle

Grant Shapps, Northern Powerhouse Minister, and Secretary of State for Transport, has backed the work carried out at National Patient Recruitment Centres in the North, on the day all five National Institute for Health Research sites officially launch.

The support comes on the day (12 November) the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) has officially launched all five new National Patient Recruitment Centres (NPRCs) to enable more late phase commercial clinical research to be delivered within the NHS and make it easier for people to take part in studies.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Grant Shapps said: “Investing in innovative medical research in the NHS trusts in Blackpool, Bradford and Newcastle will benefit patients across the North, ensuring they can be among the first to access new treatments.

“Driving innovation and excellence in these pioneering institutes across the Northern Powerhouse will ensure the North continues to lead on vital research initiatives, and will help attract further investment from the global life science industry.”

Located at NHS hospital sites across England, including the PRC: Newcastle, the five regionally based centres are funded through a £7m investment as part of the Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and Sector Deal 2 - a series of measures to strengthen the UK environment for clinical research.The new centres are spread across England with a wide geographical catchment area to increase opportunities and make it easier for people in regions across the country to take part in studies and potentially benefit from innovation through clinical research. 

The Patient Recruitment Centre: Newcastle, based at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality site in Newcastle, is under the management of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and run locally by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It provides dedicated space, purpose-designed facilities and medical expertise to deliver clinical research with patients across the North East and North Cumbria to take part in late-phase commercial clinical research.

These studies are funded by the life sciences industry - through which participants can access potentially cutting edge new drugs and treatments before they become widely available within the NHS.


Innovative recruitment strategies to improve research delivery

The NPRCs use innovative and proactive recruitment strategies to reach out into the local community and empower patients to take part in research. An example of innovation within this area is already underway at the PRC:Newcastle, who are running one of the UK’s first virtual interventional commercial clinical trials. Virtual clinical trials utilise digital technology to enable participants to take part in studies remotely, from the comfort of their own homes, rather than by routinely attending clinical settings.

The RELIEVE IBS-D trial is testing a new treatment for IBS with diarrhoea (IBS-D) and members of the public have been invited to take part in the study through the PRC via a consent for contact registry and digital media campaign.

Professor Yan Yiannakou, PRC: Newcastle Clinical Director, said: “Our priority is to put our patients and research participants at the centre of everything we do; to ensure they have a rewarding experience, while maximising safety and helping to answer important questions about new treatments. 

“We want to really connect with our local community to empower as many people as possible to be involved in research and have access to the latest treatments. By focussing on conditions that affect many people here in the North East we hope to make a real difference to the health and well-being of our local population.”

The new research centres are designed to make it quicker and easier for life science companies to deliver late-phase clinical research at scale and pace through the NHS. In turn, they will increase the number of commercial studies that can be delivered within the UK - benefiting patients who will gain earlier access to innovative new treatments and diagnostics, as well as the NHS and wider economy by attracting additional investment from the global life science industry.

Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network said: “The new National

Patient Recruitment Centres will significantly increase our capacity and capability to support the delivery of late-phase commercial research through the NHS.

“By offering a streamlined, consistent and collaborative approach to study set-up and delivery, the centres will also make it quicker and easier for the life science industry to bring late phase studies to the UK and run these at pace and scale across our NHS.”