Published: 22 May 2020
NHS patients will benefit from easier access to clinical research opportunities, following a £7 million government investment to launch five new regional Patient Recruitment Centres (PRCs) across England.
The five new centres are distributed across the country to provide opportunities for patients in regions across England who may not previously have been able to take part in cutting edge clinical studies.
During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the new centres will also increase opportunities for patients to access trials assessing the latest potential treatments against COVID-19; in addition to trials across all other healthcare specialties.
The centres will be managed by the NIHR and run by NHS trusts. They will provide dedicated space, purpose-designed facilities and medical expertise to deliver clinical research within NHS hospital sites, with the aim of increasing the number of studies being run across England.
This forms part of the Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and Life Sciences Sector Deal 2 which set out a series of measures to strengthen the UK environment for clinical research and enable growth within the sector, while ensuring the country is at the forefront of medical science and the development of innovative new treatments for years to come. The centres will increase the NHS’s capacity to deliver vital research for patients, while decreasing the time it takes to set-up late-phase commercial trials within the NHS - improving the UK’s competitiveness in the global market and providing opportunities for patients to benefit from early access to innovation.
The five new Patient Recruitment Centres have now been selected and will be based within the following NHS trusts:
- Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
- The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said:
“I am delighted to see funding awarded to these five centres across England. They will really increase opportunities for patients in the NHS to take part in research, will benefit the NHS and provide important investment to the country.
“The importance of clinical research has never been more evident than in the COVID-19 pandemic. The NIHR has been able to help fund and to support key research studies and trials into the basis, genetics, prognosis and, critically, to offer potential treatments, including the largest global clinical treatment trial in COVID-19. These centres now give us a further dimension and opportunity to offer large scale trials, for instance in treatments for COVID-19, and to help deliver those at pace and scale. Looking further, they will help us build on our position as a great country to support life-sciences research.
“The investment in these new centres will also significantly increase the NHS’s capacity to deliver research - benefiting the UK economy by attracting more life science investment in the UK, while creating jobs and generating income and savings for the NHS trusts who will deliver them - a welcome boost for our country’s health service.”