Tuesday, July 02, 2019

SLaM is England's top mental health trust for research

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) is the top mental health trust in England for both the number of people taking part in research and the number of studies, according to National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) statistics.

Over 21,000 people took part in clinical research at SLaM over the last 12 months, with 105 studies supported by the NIHR (up from 101 in 2017/2018). We also have England’s fourth biggest research study in terms of participants, the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) study, which is aiming to recruit 40,000 volunteers to provide saliva samples for research into genetic risk factors for anxiety and depression.

Across England, the total number of people benefiting from clinical research reached a record high this year - with over 870,000 people taking part in studies supported by the NIHR. The number marks a significant step towards the NHS Long Term Plan’s goal of one million people taking part in clinical research by 2023/24 - part of the Government’s overall strategy to improve care, treatment and services in England.

Dr Fiona Gaughran, Director of R&D at SLaM, said: "It is wonderful to see that service users and their families are becoming more aware of the research options open to them and engaging with research, not just through their clinicians, but also directly with research teams, as in the GLAD study. These numbers show that there is huge interest among service users around taking part in research, increasing our understanding and generating new solutions for mental ill-health".

Dr Gill Dale, Director of Research Quality at SLaM and Head of the Joint Research & Development Office at SLaM and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King's College London said: "It is fantastic to see SLaM up there as the top mental health trust for participation in research and to see the numbers growing year on year. We want all service users at the Trust to be offered the opportunity to participate in research that is of interest to them".

Nationally, the most participants were recruited into children’s research studies (81,892), studies delivered in primary care settings (78,533), reproductive health and childbirth research (74,128), cancer research (67,652), and mental health research (65,645). The number of participants involved in dementia and neurodegeneration studies also reached record levels - with 42,024 participants involved in vital NIHR supported studies.

Evidence shows that being given the opportunity to take part in research benefits both patients and carers - and that their experience of being involved is overwhelmingly positive. The latest NIHR survey of those taking part in research, completed by over 8,500 participants, found that 90 per cent of people had a good experience of participating in research.

The NIHR has taken steps to support the NHS Long Term Plan’s goal for clinical research by launching a new website called Be Part of Research – previously known as the UK Clinical Trials Gateway - which helps people to easily find and take part in studies across the UK.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield OBE, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network said: “We are delighted that this year alone, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have given their time to improve healthcare for others. Without their commitment, vital health research that changes lives simply could not happen.”

More information on the 2018/19 statistics is available on the NIHR website.

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