Date: 20 May 2019
To mark International Clinical Trials Day, which takes place on 20 May every year, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is launching its new Be Part of Research campaign to encourage people to take part in research.
If research into health and social care stopped, the healthcare of our future would fail to progress. There would be no new treatments, no new ways of alleviating pain or suffering, no new ways to prevent and treat disease.
Across Kent, Surrey and Sussex research takes place into many disease areas and conditions including cancer, diabetes, mental health, dementia, and eye problems. But, vital research can only happen because of the generous nature of patients and healthy members of the public – of all ages – who volunteer their time and commitment to take part in studies.
Malcolm Loftus, 60, from Surrey has taken part in a diabetes clinical trial at the Earlswood Centre which is part of the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Malcolm is a tax manager for a property company in London and he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February 1992.
Malcolm Loftus said: “I saw taking part in a research study as an opportunity to learn more about my diabetes and hopefully provide something useful, if not for me, but for other people. It was also an opportunity for me to talk one-on-one with an expert in diabetes.
“This was the first time I had contributed to research and I would happily take part again. The reason why I wanted to participate in research was to find things that work better, that is why, if I fit the criteria and depending on the level of commitment, I would certainly volunteer again.”
The number of people benefiting from clinical research in England reached record highs this year - with over eight hundred and seventy thousand (870,250) participants involved in studies supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)’s Clinical Research Network alone over the last twelve months.
The number marks a significant step towards the NHS Long Term Plan’s goal of one million people taking part in clinical research by 2023/24 - part of the Government’s strategy to improve care, treatment and NHS services in England.
Dr Kate Jones, Chief Operating Officer for NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex said: “Thank you to all patients and volunteers who have participated in research, giving their time and their commitment to find cutting edge treatments and help the future development of care.
“To anyone thinking of taking part in research, I can only encourage you to give it your full consideration. Today’s treatments are only possible because of the selfless contribution of previous patients to research – and tomorrow’s treatments and advancements depend on you and your commitment to research today. Making an investment in the future is not just critical, it’s rewarding as well, and many of our patients feel that they want to be part of making things better in the future, for all”.
If you are not eligible to take part in a study, you could still contribute in other ways. There are opportunities to review research, critique approaches or be involved in supporting the conduct and promotion of research.
If you would like to take part in a research study, either as a patient or a healthy volunteer, ask your doctor, nurse, midwife or other healthcare professional about whether there is a trial or study that you can take part in. Or, you can search for studies at www.bepartofresearch.uk to find out what research is happening near you and how you can be involved.
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