Following the release of their annual statistics last month, Lydia Christopher, Head of Industry Operations at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network, provides an overview of the Network and discusses their recent success.
The NIHR Clinical Research Network provides the infrastructure that allows high-quality clinical research to take place in the NHS, so that patients can benefit from new and better treatments. We help researchers to set up clinical studies quickly and effectively; support the life-sciences industry to deliver their research programmes; provide health professionals with research training; and work with patients to ensure their needs are at the very centre of all research activity.
As Head of Industry Operations, my role is to oversee the work we deliver for the life-sciences industry and last month we were delighted to announce record figures for commercial contract clinical research in the NHS in England during the 2013-14 year.
Our latest figures have shown recruitment of more than 25,000 patients to commercial contract studies, this is a 26% increase on last year and means nearly 96,000 patients have participated in commercial contract studies over the last six years. The Network supported the delivery of to 533 unique commercial contract studies – the highest number since records began. On top of this, 86% of Trusts recruited patients onto our Portfolio of commercial contract studies. These figures are all substantial increases on previous years and reflect the hard work and dedicating focus on supporting the Life Sciences Industry.
Further to these fantastic figures, improved study set-up and strong delivery has meant the median number of days to achieve NHS Permission for commercial contract studies at all study sites is now just 26 calendar days. Over the last four years the Network has also more than tripled the number of commercial contract studies delivered to 100% time and target.
The NHS can confidently say it is internationally competitive in terms of speed of study set-up and because of the processes we have in place, in 2013/14 alone, the Network recruited 35 first global patients – a tremendous achievement.
Overall our work contributes to an excellent journey for the life-sciences industry – the speed to which companies can now set-up and deliver studies with Network support in the NHS is remarkable.
How we support the life-sciences industry
The Network acts as a gateway for companies wishing to undertake commercial contract research in the NHS, we are the research delivery arm of the NHS and aid the life-sciences industry through three key areas of support which are provided free of charge:
- Feasibility – Whether you have an idea for a study or have a draft final protocol, we can help you identify potential study sites and targets. Our coverage spans over 30 clinical specialties and hundreds of investigators. Our site identification and intelligence services are backed by the latest evidence based NHS clinical research performance and capacity information.
- Set-up – We are constantly working to improve the set-up and delivery of clinical research studies in the NHS. Our tools have been developed in collaboration with the clinical research community to efficiently support your study set-up. These include a suite of Commercial Study Costing templates and Model Clinical Agreements.
- Management – The service we offer means you can maintain study profile and aids consistent delivery across multiple sites – making it easier for you to manage a study across numerous locations. Our resource is available throughout England and ensures NHS staff have the skills and supporting infrastructure to conduct and deliver the highest quality research.
In order to be here for you, we have a dedicated central Industry Information Centre available to provide information and advice to help commercial life-sciences companies to use the Network service effectively.
We are here to help bring these impressive results to your study and invite you to start your journey with us today by contacting our support team: