NHS Research Activity on the Rise

According to new data from The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Clinical Research Network’s (CRN) annual league table, NHS England has achieved a significant increase in clinical research over the last year.

The league table details the number of studies undertaken and the number of participants they recruited into those studies by each individual trust in various locations within England.

The table categorises NHS Trusts into organisations with comparable characteristics, thereby allowing comparisons to be made between trusts involved similar circumstances.

Within the last seven years more than 3.8 million people have taken part in clinical research studies supported by the Clinical Research Network. Whilst more than 100,000 people have participated in commercial contract research over the past five years.

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had the largest increase in research activity, with 52 additional studies on the previous year, followed by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust with a 40 study increase and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust with 40 extra studies.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust rounded out the top five, achieving 37 and 35 study increases respectively.

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is currently high in the table for the fourth year running for quantity of research with 486 studies, increasing by seven studies from 2014.

The research also revealed Care and Mental Health Trusts are amongst the top ten trusts that have achieved the largest percentage increase in the total amount of research studies undertaken.

NIHR CEO Dr Jonathan Sheffield views the league table as evidence of the growing profile of research throughout the NHS. He comments: “This year we’re able to report that for the third year running, over 600,000 people took part in clinical research studies in the NHS in England.
“Nearly 35,000 of that total were recruited to studies sponsored by the life sciences industry, showing a 35 per cent increase in one year, which is a fantastic achievement. The NIHR Clinical Research Network continues to support more studies year on year; last year it supported nearly 5,000 studies – a 5% increase on the previous year.”


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