Clinical trials activity report for England highlights progress but much work still to be done

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) CRN CC has today published its clinical research activity report for the final quarter of 2011/12.  Some of the data and a good summary of what they mean is also available on The Guardian website.

Last year was the first that this sort of information was made widely available.  So importantly, from a public perspective, people can now look at how their NHS Trust has improved upon what it did the previous year.

The overall picture is positive.  In addition, there are some very good stories within the report about the progress being made in specific parts of the system.  I am particularly pleased to see the increase in research activity across primary care – a significant foothold that we must make sure is built upon as the NHS changes take effect.

Patient recruitment to research was above the NIHR CRN CC target, if a little lower than last year.  It simply emphasises the fact that we have much to do to ensure patients are given the opportunity to take part in an appropriate trial.  More importantly, that they know they have the right to ask.  I shall say more about this next week.  The fact that the NIHR CRN CC report slices up the data by NHR Trust and type of Trust also means we can be quite strategic in our thinking about where this push is needed most.

Yesterday I chaired the second meeting of a working group – hosted by NIHR CRN CC – that will be bringing together a cluster of public involvement colleagues in NHS Trusts across the country to develop tools and information for Trusts to improve access to research for trials.  You heard it here first.

We are on the right path.

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