Key stats: Commercial research in the NHS

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To discuss support for your upcoming study email the Support My Study team or call
+00 44 (0)113 34 34 555

We recruited over 50,000 participants to commercial contract research studies

Annual data provided by our NHS research delivery arm, the Clinical Research Network, demonstrates that clinical research in the UK is thriving and the NHS is open for business. 

Achievements in the the financial year 2017/18 include:

Our key statistics show that commercial research in the National Health Service (NHS) in England is going from strength to strength.

Volume and growth

  • 697 new commercial contract studies added during the financial year and continued growth in the number of studies open to recruitment (1375 studies compared to 415 in 2010/11)
  • 50,112 participants were recruited to commercial contract research studies
  • An accumulative total of 179,744 participants recruited into commercial contract research over the last five years
  • 88 different Contract Research Organisations accessed the NIHR Study Support Service 
  • The NIHR Clinical Research Network signed Confidentiality Disclosure Agreements with 98 companies last year, bringing the total since April 2006 to 925 companies

We achieved 24 first global patients and 4 first European patients

Improvements in research delivery have made the UK a globally competitive destination for clinical research.

Globally competitive

  • 74 per cent of commercial contract studies (346 studies) achieved 100 percent of their recruitment target within the planned deadline. This compares to just 21 per cent in 2010/11
  • The percentage of non-recruiting sites is now 12.8 per cent for commercial contract research
  • We achieved 24 first global patients and 4 first european patients

82% of NHS trusts recruited patients to participate in commercial contract research

Over 74 per cent of NHS trusts supporting patient opportunities to participate in commercial contract research

A research active national health service

  • 82 per cent of NHS trusts (193 of 234) provided patient opportunities to participate in commercial contract research (99 per cent for commercial and non commercial research combined)
  • 32 per cent of General Medical Practices are currently clinical research active in commercial/non-commercial research
  • View the latest NHS trust research activity league table

Impact and value

An independent report, commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network and produced by KPMG’s Economics team, provides an assessment of the economic impact of the NIHR Clinical Research Network’s activities to support clinical research in the UK. The report includes assessment of the economic contribution made to the UK economy through clinical research activity supported by the network; analysis to quantify the value of payments made to NHS Trusts for commercial studies, and the value to the NHS of pharmaceuticals used as part of industry-sponsored studies.

Read the full report.

Download a infographic summarising the findings.

More on performance

Further information, including the full NIHR Clinical Research Network Annual Performance Report, can be found on the NIHR Clinical Research Network key statistics page.

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