Research assistants in the laboratory

Teamwork pays off for new stroke study

Teamwork has paid dividends in setting up an important new stroke study across Salford Royal and the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

In 2017, the boards of the two organisations agreed to form a group, the Northern Care Alliance   (NCA), to ensure safer, more reliable standards of care spread across all the care organisations – Salford Royal, Fairfield General, the Royal Oldham, Rochdale Infirmary and North Manchester General.

The two Trusts’ research departments have been at the forefront of the closer working, with one research management and support team covering all sites.

With the Acute Research Delivery Team at Salford and the Stroke Research Team at Fairfield collaborating closely, it has meant that the NCA was able to submit a joint expression of interest in the SIGNUM observational stroke study. As Salford Royal and Fairfield General are two of Greater Manchester’s specialist stroke centres, we treat a large proportion of the region’s stroke patients and are confident of being able to recruit to time and target. Indeed, both organisations recruited their first patients within 24 hours of the study opening at their sites and to date have recruited a total of 132 patients thanks to both teams’ hard work.

The study, sponsored by University College London and adopted onto the NIHR portfolio, is building a national database to help drive stroke care forward. Patients will be asked to give an extra sample of blood that will be used to measure blood markers and DNA changes that may influence stroke. Together with clinical information, medical records and scans, the data will be used to define different types of stroke, their causes and effects and will also assist in research into recovery after stroke. Ultimately the hope is that the database will help researchers to discover and offer new treatments for stroke.

The Principal Investigator for the study at Salford Royal is Advanced Nurse Practitioner Thom Luxon while Senior Research Nurse Pat Jacob is the Principal Investigator at Pennine Acute. They are both first-time Principal Investigators.

Director of Research and Development Operations Professor Steve Woby said: “I am delighted that our collaborative working across our combined care organisations is giving more patients the chance to take part in important research like this. We were able to provide a smooth and streamlined service to the sponsor during the set-up of the study and this also helped towards recruiting the first patients so quickly.”