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South West trainee anaesthesia network wins award for enabling thousands of patients to take part in research

Date: 13 February 2018

A network of anaesthesia clinicians which has enabled thousands of people from across the region to take part in research has won an award.

The South West Anaesthesia Research Matrix (SWARM), which was formed in 2012, has been instrumental in increasing trainee participation in clinical research on a regional and national scale.  SWARM, now one of 19 regional trainee research networks, was recently announced as the winner in the Trainee Network category of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and Clinical Research Network Awards.

SWARM is a trainee-led audit and research collaboration between six NHS organisations in the region, including Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

It is also supported by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) in the South West, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) and the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC).

The power of the network is in scaling up projects to run concurrently at all the participating Trusts, thus bringing high-quality, high-impact, multi-centred research and audit to patients across the whole region. So far the network has run 11 of these collaborative projects, presenting and publishing their results widely.

Johannes Retief, SWARM Chair and Anaesthesia Registrar at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We believe SWARM has changed the landscape with regard to trainee led and delivered perioperative research.  More than 20,000 patients have been recruited to NIHR studies as an indirect result.  SWARM provides a route to be active in clinical research for NHS clinicians as they progress through their careers and ensures a deeper understanding of research when advancing from trainee to consultant.”  

Applicants were required to outline their contribution to the leadership of several NIHR CRN Portfolio studies, with particular weight being attached to demonstration of clinical leadership, enabling their organisation to increase its participation in clinical studies; how they engaged with patients to inform them of new opportunities to participate in clinical research; and individual contributions to successful delivery of clinical research studies.

Professor Stephen Smye, NIHR CRN Specialty Cluster Lead, said: “The NIHR CRN really values its strong partnership with the RCoA and the winners of the RCoA/NIHR CRN joint awards exemplify clinical research leadership at its finest; patient-centred, inclusive and with a wide and lasting impact.”

The worldwide, multi-centred LAS VEGAS study, run in 2013, first put SWARM on the map. This looked at mechanical ventilation practice during operations. SWARM recruited 40% of the UK`s total.

In 2016 SWARM completed recruitment to CUPPA, a study of whether careful brushing of teeth decreases patients’ risk of getting pneumonia after major surgery. The trial was the first national grant funded multicentre project ever to be delivered by a UK anaesthetic trainee network.

This year SWARM will launch a new study looking at remotely monitoring the cognitive function of people following surgery.

The awards will be presented during the RCoA’s new two day conference, Anaesthesia 2018, in May 2018 in London.

  • Summary:
    A network of anaesthesia clinicians which has enabled thousands of people from across the region to take part in research has won an award.
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    South West Peninsula
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    Anaesthesia, Perioperative Medicine and Pain Management
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