- Governmernment invests £7m in five new national Patient Recruitment Centres at NHS hospitals to increase research capacity within the NHS
- One of the five centres will be located at Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Centres will help people take part in important late-phase clinical research in collaboration with the life science industry and the National Institute for Health Research
- New centres set to boost investment in NHS from the global life science industry
NHS patients will benefit from easier access to clinical research opportunities, following a £7 million Government investment to launch five new regional Patient Recruitment Centres (PRCs) across England.
The five new centres are distributed in regions across the country, with a broad geographical spread to provide new opportunities for patients in regions across England who may not previously have been able to take part in cutting edge clinical studies.
During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the new centres will also increase opportunities for patients to access trials assessing the latest potential treatments and vaccines against COVID-19.
The centres will be managed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and run by NHS trusts. They will provide dedicated space, purpose-designed facilities and medical expertise to deliver clinical research within NHS hospital sites, with the aim of increasing the number of studies being run across England.
Earlier this year, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were winners of the Research Team of the Year Award at the North West Coast Research and Innovation Awards, further evidence of the Trust’s growing status as research leaders across a number of disease areas.
Dr Jim Gardner, Medical Director at the Trust, said: “We are extremely proud to have been selected as one of the five national centres for this funding.
“This is a huge boost to the Fylde coast and is testament to the commitment that the Trust has made to building up its research skills and capacity over the past few years and the excellent work undertaken by colleagues in the R+D Department and across the organisation.
“We look forward to welcoming new studies and offering our patients increased opportunities to access cutting-edge therapies. Through playing a major role in recruitment to research studies, the Trust will make a significant impact to the lives of patients both now and in the future.”
This forms part of the Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and Life Sector Deal 2 which set out a series of measures to strengthen the UK environment for clinical research and enable growth within the sector, while ensuring the country is at the forefront of medical science and the development of innovative new treatments for years to come.
The centres will increase the NHS’s capacity to deliver vital research for patients, while decreasing the time it takes to set-up late-phase commercial trials within the NHS – improving the UK’s competitiveness in the global market and providing opportunities for patients to benefit from early access to innovation.
Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: “I am delighted to see funding awarded to these five centres across England. They will really increase opportunities for patients in the NHS to take part in research, will benefit the NHS and provide important investment to the country.”
“The importance of clinical research has never been more evident than in the COVID-19 pandemic. The NIHR has been able to help fund and to support key research studies and trials into the basis, genetics, prognosis and, critically, to offer potential treatments, including the largest global clinical treatment trial in COVID-19. These centres now give us a further dimension and opportunity to offer large scale trials, for instance in vaccines for COVID-19, and to help deliver those at pace and scale. Looking further, they will help us build on our position as a great country to support life-sciences research.
“The investment in these new centres will also significantly increase the NHS’s capacity to deliver research – benefiting the UK economy by attracting more life science investment in the UK, while creating jobs and generating income and savings for the NHS trusts who will deliver them – a welcome boost for our country’s health service.”