Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG enrol most NHS GP research participants in England

GPs in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough recruited more patients to NHS research than any other area in the entire country last year, according to the annual National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Activity League Table, published today.

NHS research teams based at GP practices across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area recruited more than 5000 participants (5,217) to NIHR clinical research trials in 2017/18. The previous year’s total of 3,097 means 69% more people in the area were involved in helping to find new treatments for patients through their GP in the area last year.

The Research Activity League Table is published by the NIHR annually to detail research activity across all NHS trusts and CCGs in England. The table provides a picture of how much clinical research is happening in which NHS organisations, and involving how many patients.

Overall, the Eastern region saw a 67% increase in research activity in comparison to 53% of NHS trusts and 48% of CCG regions countrywide increasing their research activity. The number of NHS organisations offering patients the chance to participate in life sciences industry research rose across England with 34% of NHS trusts and 28% of CCG regions increasing the number of commercial studies they supported.

Jan Thomas, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG’s Chief Officer, praised the efforts of GP research staff, saying:

“We are really pleased that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have the highest numbers of GP patients taking part in research for the NHS. Clinical research drives NHS developments of new and effective treatments so that together we can provide better and better health and care for all of us who use the NHS.”

“Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has leading-edge hospital-based and mental health research. As the local CCG we aim to match this by fully supporting GP practices to take part in research and our hosted Research Team works with patients, GPs, Research Investigators and NIHR colleagues to make this happen.”

One of the major studies taking place in the region is the Barrett’s oESophagus Trial (BEST3) which tests a new method for detecting Barrett’s Oesophagus, a condition which can indicate a higher risk of cancer. The trial tests a new sponge device called a Cytosponge which is attached to a string and is swallowed by the patient. In pulling the Cytosponge out cells can be collected from the food pipe which can then be tested. The hopes are that it will revolutionise the way we test for Barrett’s Oesophagus in the future.

Pauline from Peterborough recently took part in the BEST3 study at her local GP’s practice after getting a letter from her doctor. Pauline said:

“Well I think if it’s going to help somebody else then that’s what I want to do.”

Fiona Robertson, Chief Operating Officer for the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network in the Eastern region commended teams, saying:

“As we celebrate the 70th birthday of our NHS and recognise the role that research has played in its development, it is fantastic to see the growth in NIHR research activity in across the Eastern region today. This is testament to the continued pride taken by our clinical trials teams in their efforts to make sure as many patients as possible have access to research in our health services”.