Date: 12 February 2019
The musculoskeletal (MSK) team at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has won a national top recruiter award.
Ms Ines Reichert, Orthopaedic Surgeon, who is the Clinical Lead for the team, picked up the award along with Clinical Research Associate / Trials Manager Kerim Gokturk and Research Assistant Joyce Kadunyi at the seventh NIHR Orthopaedic Trauma Society (OTS) Musculoskeletal Trauma Trials Awards.
About receiving the award, Kerim said: “It’s a great achievement for the orthopaedic research team.”
Kerim recalled that when he joined the Orthopaedic Department in June 2016 the Trust had a very small number of Orthopaedic Principal Investigators (PIs) and just two open trials that were recruiting very small numbers.
Since then, the MSK research activity at the Trust has grown exponentially and the Orthopaedic Department currently has twelve active PIs and the number of recruiting trials has increased to ten. Additionally the team are supporting three trials in follow-up phase and a further four trials in set up that will commence in the next few months. Kerim said:
“Under Ms Reichert’s guidance and leadership, we have been able to increase the number of trials that we conduct and have become one of the top recruiting sites in the UK for a number of trials, including WHIST, AIR and UKSTAR. We are also the international leader for recruitment onto the multinational FORTIFY trial.
“With her support, we have also been able to grow the department by recruiting a Research Assistant and a Research Nurse.”
The award ceremony was part of the NIHR Orthopaedic Trauma Society (OTS) Musculoskeletal Trauma Trials Annual Meeting hosted by its president, Professor Matt Costa, NIHR National Speciality Lead for Injuries and Emergencies. The conference was held at the Hilton Hotel in Burton upon Trent on 9 January 2019 and included talks from Dan Perry/Phoebe Gibson on ‘Trauma trials involving children’, Martin Landray on ‘Trials and Big Data’ and Steve Gwilym on ‘Patient and Public Involvement’. The Annual Meeting was followed by the OTS 2019 international conference held over two days.
Andrienne Papadopoulou, Specialty Cluster Coordinator for the NIHR Clinical Research Network, presented the award to the King’s College Hospital (KCH) orthopaedic research team.
The growth of orthopaedic research at KCH has been rapid and this award is a reflection of that growth. The site is now one of the preferred sites in the UK for orthopaedic research and the department has around 24 consultants and 60 surgeons. Kerim believes that with more support, the team could start their own large scale trials.
An important element in the growth has been the people in the team who have helped make it happen. Kerim described Zavira Heinze, Junior Clinical Fellow, as having helped greatly and although she left last November, her replacement in the role Parisah Seyed-Safi is doing an amazing job. Kerim feels Orthopaedic Specialist Registrar Lucy Cooper and International Fellow, Ronak Patel, who has since moved on, made valuable contributions to the growth, as has Consultant Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon Aswin Vasireddy, who is actively involved as a research facilitator and research advocate. On the growth of MSK research in Orthopaedic Surgery at KCH, Kerim said:
“I think you need to have a good Research and Development Department and a research team that is motivated and is trying to develop the area and promote the specialty. Also, constant engagement with colleagues in the area is important along with an innovative approach that utilises data platforms and software, teamwork and professionalism, being active in promoting research and emphasising the role of the patient in research. These are some of the main reasons we’ve been expanding.”
Leadership is also key. Kerim continued: “It would be impossible if I didn’t get support from Ines. She has always been there guiding, involving her colleagues to get involved in research and to become PIs.
“Throughout the last two and a half years, she has provided exceptional support and strategic guidance that has continually enhanced the research teams' performance. She has improved the research profile both within the department and the hospital trust. She has also fostered a nurturing environment and encouraged other colleagues to complete the relevant training and become PIs. She was instrumental in forming the King’s Orthopaedic Research Governance Initiative.
“Furthermore, Ms Reichert always ensured that the PIs and investigators prioritised patient care and safety, and emphasised the importance of maintaining equipoise and appropriate consenting so that patients were fully informed prior to participating in a research study.”
At the same event last year, the KCH orthopaedic team won the Best Data Completion award and the award this year shows they have continued to improve their performance since then. Ms Reichert said:
“It is a privilege and joy to work with such enthusiastic colleagues day-to day. And Kerim has been a huge asset to the team since his day one, setting an impressive example for our growing team.
“Clinical Research in a surgical speciality is never easy as patients are asked to ‘trust’ us to invite participation only in studies that are safe to randomise between different surgical treatment arms, or even comparing a surgical option with conservative treatment. The term ‘equipoise’ is being translated into clinical reality every day.”
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