Clinical research campaign launched

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The Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) has recently launched “It’s Ok to Ask about Clinical Research” Campaign which gives service users information on the who, what, where and why in clinical research.

Research is part of the core work of Health and Social Care providers. The Northern Trust, which provides both Health and Social Care services, aims to provide care based on the best available evidence and considers it important to inform patients of research studies in which they may be able to participate. This gives people better access to the potential benefits of taking part in research studies including clinical trials.

In a recent consumer poll, only 21% of patients and public said they would feel confident asking their doctor about research opportunities. Due to this low response, the Trust decided to make this a yearly regional Public Health campaign to promote and to raise awareness.

Dr Des Rooney, Head of Research and Development at the Northern Trust said: “High quality clinical research is vital if we are to improve the evidence base that underpins the delivery of Health and Social Care. Well managed and controlled clinical trials make an important contribution to that evidence base and improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of illness and disease”.

People in Northern Ireland have access to high quality trials across all Trust areas and Primary Care. The Northern Trust currently works in partnership with the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network (NICRN) and the Northern Ireland Cancer Trials Network (NICTN) to take forward their clinical trials. This brings together health and social care professionals, academics, industry, voluntary organisations, patients and members of the public. The work they undertake, not only seeks to provide evidence on the best outcomes for patients, but also attracts major funding and economic investment for Northern Ireland. Clinical trials such as Renal, Diabetes, Stroke, Critical Care, Cancer and Mental Health are offered to Northern Trust service users.

Feedback is very important. A service user on a follow up Critical Care trial recently commented, “I wanted to give something back and I hope that clinical trials will help others as much as it’s helped me after being so unwell”. He also commented that, “I felt that I hadn’t been forgotten about because there was always a research appointment for follow up which gave the opportunity to see the staff that cared for me.”

Dr Des Rooney as Head of Research and Development contributes to and influences strategic direction as a member of the Medical Directorate and also as a member of the Research and Development Directors Forum. Dr Rooney also has a responsibility for approving all research activity within the Trust.

Frances Johnston, Research Governance Manager, Northern Trust said: “If you have a condition and are undergoing treatment, we would like you to ask your HSC care professional about clinical trials or other research studies, and whether any may be right for you, all you have to do is ask!”

To find out more about Clinical Research please visit the useful links below. These provide more information about what Clinical Research is and some of the Clinical Trials happening locally.

Any patient who has any other condition which is not listed above and who is interested in Clinical Trials can contact Sonia McKenna from the NICRN on 90 636367 as there may be alternative hospital sites to participate in.