Record-breaking year for research

Team work across the Northern Care Alliance has led to a record-breaking year with more than 14,000 patients recruited to National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network portfolio studies in 2017-18.

Since Salford Royal and the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust formed a group, the research department has been at the forefront of the closer working, with one joint Research and Innovation Office now covering all sites.

Together, the Alliance has recruited 14,093 patients to CRN portfolio studies – high quality studies that have been awarded funds as a result of open national competition, for research that is of clear value to the NHS and which takes account of Department of Health and NHS priorities. Other ‘non portfolio’ research also takes place in the NHS.

This fantastic achievement puts the Alliance in 11th place out of 154 acute trusts in England. The combined Trusts are among the top five per cent recruiters in 10 specialties and the top 10 per cent in a further three, a remarkable record.

The Alliance has done particularly well on recruitment into trials with pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, with 1,659 patients – second only to Oxford University Hospitals in England.

Both Salford Royal and Pennine Acute have recorded their highest recruitment figures to date, thanks to the hard work of staff across all specialties and departments.

At Salford Royal, 6,285 patients took part in studies – an amazing 20 per cent improvement on the previous best figure.

The hospital is among the top five per cent of recruiters in England in neurology, stroke, dermatology, anaesthesia, and dementias and neurodegeneration and among the top 10 per cent in a further three areas – renal, diabetes and musculoskeletal. Staff successfully recruited to 192 NIHR active studies during the year, of which 56 were interventional and 47 were commercial, an excellent record that puts the Trust on a similar level to the country’s biggest teaching trusts.

Salford Royal’s high level of research activity is also reflected in the number of staff who have had their work published in academic journals. In 2017, there were 386 research papers published with authors from Salford Royal, with many featuring in the key medical journals. The high volume and variety of published work clearly shows the commitment of staff, patients and the Trust to using research and innovation to enhance patient experience and outcome.

At Pennine Acute – which covers Fairfield General, The Royal Oldham and North Manchester General Hospitals, as well as Rochdale Infirmary – 7,733 patients took part in research in 2017-18. The Trust was the third highest recruiter among English acute trusts to primary care studies and the fourth highest recruiter to research into injuries and emergencies as well as to children’s studies – comparing well with the country’s specialist children’s hospitals.

The Trust is also a leading site for studies in diabetes (ninth highest recruiter in England) and gastroenterology (11th highest recruiter in England).

Overall, Pennine Acute had patients taking part in 124 different studies in 2017-18, with 44 of these involving an intervention and 27 of them carried out in partnership with pharmaceutical and medical technology companies.

Director of Research & Innovation Operations Professor Steve Woby said: “Our performance over the last year in all specialties has been brilliant and we are thrilled that we have recruited more than 14,000 patients for the first time. Research links closely with clinical care and these figures mean that more people than ever before are being given the chance to test new medicines and to contribute to improvements in diagnosis, care and treatments. I want to thank all the dedicated staff at Salford Royal and Pennine Acute who have contributed to these fantastic achievements.”