QEH patients encouraged to ask about Clinical Research

This year The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, is highlighting the “OK to ask” campaign, which encourages patients to ask about clinical research.

Clinical research is, and has always been at the heart of the NHS. Only by finding out what works, can we continually strive to improve treatment for patients and understand how to use the NHS’s precious resources where they are most needed.  International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world each year on 20 May, to commemorate the day that James Lind started his famous trial on the deadly disease scurvy.  The 1747 study is ranked as one of the first clinical experiments in the history of medicine.  It showed that those treated with citrus fruit rather than cider and other things had better outcomes.   International Clinical trials day provides a focal point to raise awareness of the importance of research to healthcare.  It also highlights how partnerships between patients and staff are vital to high-quality, relevant research.

The National Institute for Health Research provides the infrastructure which supports the NHS in its need for first-class research, which results in continuously high standards of care for patients and the public. It helps everyone to get involved in all stages of research studies.  This can be either by voluntarily taking part in clinical and other research studies or by getting actively involved in the different stages of research and related activities.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn has a dedicated Research and Development department to oversee and govern all research related activities in the hospital.  A team of specialist research nurses and support staff run studies in a number of specialties including diabetes, haematology, pediatrics, gastroenterology, oncology, stroke, critical care and dermatology.   Last year we recruited 374 patients to studies – this year we aim to recruit over 500. We have more than 60 studies open and recruiting, so if you are a patient there, please ask your clinician if there are any suitable studies for you to join.

Dr Antonia Hardcastle, Research and Development Manager said “Research is mutually beneficial.  Volunteers in studies not only gain a better understanding of and management of their illness, they can also assist in ensuring that existing treatments are used in the best possible way.  For all healthcare professionals research studies help them develop their skills and add to their knowledge base.”