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Record numbers sign up for NHS trials including thousands of Londoners

This article was taken from: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/record-numbers-sign-up-for-nhs-trials-including-thousands-of-londoners-a3891596.html

By Ross Lydall

Record numbers of NHS patients are being enrolled on clinical trials — with four London trusts among the top 10 for providing access to pioneering treatments.

A total of 725,333 people took part in medical research in 2017/18, up nine per cent on the previous year and the highest figure since records began.

There were 2,070 trials — also a record — according to the annual league table from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Guy’s and St Thomas’ recruited the most patients in the capital (19,063), taking third place nationally. Imperial College Healthcare was fifth (17,202), Barts Health was seventh (16,825) and King’s College eighth (16,447).

Nationally, Oxford University hospitals took first place for the number of participants (20,937) while Newcastle ran the most studies (550), followed by Guy’s and St Thomas’ (533).

University College London Hospitals took 11th place for the number of patients recruited (11,418), and Chelsea and Westminster 20th (7,141).

The Royal Free (246), the Royal Marsden (245) and St George’s (238) all made the top 20 for the number of trials.

The figures include commercial  studies sponsored by the life sciences industry — such as pharmaceutical companies — as well as non-commercial studies funded by medical charities, research councils, the Government  or the NIHR.

Barts Health retained top spot for commercial studies, supporting 158, up from 149 in 2016/17. Nationally, a total of 50,112 people took part in pharma-sponsored studies, up 45 per cent.

The NIHR said the figures suggested health research was thriving across the country and the NHS was delivering high-quality clinical trials.

Many studies involve patients and healthy volunteers, and can be used as evidence to secure NHS funding for new drugs or to enable already-licensed treatments to be used on  other diseases.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, chief executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: “Health research is the key to  finding new and innovative cures,  treatments and care for patients.”