Date: 09 March 2017
Clinical research is the way clinicians in primary care (including GPs, dentists and pharmacists) gather evidence about new treatments, in order to improve patient care in the NHS.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has recently reported that over one million people in primary care have actively participated in research studies looking at healthier lifestyle, disease diagnosis and prevention, and management of long term illnesses such as diabetes.
Key areas of concern for both GPs and patients are the delays in diagnosing cancer, but clinical research is discovering effective ways to help diagnose cancer more quickly.
Dr David Patient is the lead GP for research at Parklands Surgery in Chichester and he and his team are working on a study (CANDID) to help GPs decide sooner who needs to be tested for lung or bowel cancer. The team, in particular, Nurse Linda Barratt have worked tirelessly to increase recruitment for CANDID in the Kent, Surrey and Sussex region.
Since September 2015, over 360 patients have been recruited to the CANDID study in the south east of England, and over 140 of these were recruited by the Parklands Surgery research team.
Dr David Patient said:
“It is important for research to take place in general practice to help GPs make complicated decisions concerning the investigation and treatment of their patients: often under considerable time pressure. By giving our patients the opportunity to take part in research, we can help to find new ways to diagnose disease and find new effective treatments for our patients”.
Parklands Surgery was recently awarded Highly Commended in the Rising Star category in the NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex Research Awards.
Dr David Patient said:
“I was very surprised and pleased to win this Award on behalf of the whole team at Parklands, as it recognises all of our staff who work hard to undertake important research work in addition to the usual hectic workload of the surgery”.
What has created their success has been the development of a research culture with ‘buy-in’ from the whole practice, engaging the GPs’, nurses, management and administration staff. The preparation, flexibility and teamwork approach has proven highly successful.
Studies such as CANDID will ensure that the right patient receives the right test at the right time which will be a considerable cost saving to the NHS and also reduce anxiety in patients by avoiding referral for unnecessary tests. This study seeks to work out which of the symptoms and examination findings are the most effective in predicting lung or colon cancer.
Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive Officer for the NIHR Clinical Research Network, personally thanks patients, the public and primary care staff for their contribution to research:
Of the 7,840 general practices in England, 42 per cent are now active in research.
The Network works with key stakeholders to promote the successful delivery of research studies in the NHS and to help plan new studies that will address the needs of patients. Collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has meant that over 1,000 practices are now Research Ready® accredited.
Simon Denegri is the NIHR National Director for Patients and the Public in Research, he said:
“This is fantastic news. The nature of the health challenges facing the UK means that GPs, in partnership with patients and carers, have a crucial role to play in developing treatments of patient benefit. That over one million people have volunteered to participate in clinical studies is a mark of how successful this partnership has become. The NIHR hopes that many more people and their families will be encouraged by this to also come forward and help us do more life-saving work. Research cannot happen without them.”
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