Record numbers of clinical trial participants

More than 57,000 patients took part in clinical studies across King’s Health Partners last year according to National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) statistics, representing a 34% year-on-year increase.

Clinical trials 2019 cropped 2South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is the top mental health trust in England for both the number of people taking part in research and the number of studies.

More than 21,000 people took part in clinical research at the Trust over the last 12 months, with 105 studies supported by the NIHR (up from 101 in 2017/2018).

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust also has England’s fourth biggest research study in terms of participants. The Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) study is aiming to recruit 40,000 volunteers to provide saliva samples for research into genetic risk factors for anxiety and depression.

Dr Fiona Gaughran, Director of Research & Development at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, 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".

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust was top in the country by research studies - supporting 567 in 2018-19. In total the Trust recruited 19,522 research participants.

Dr Ian Abbs, Chief Medical Officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said:

Clinical research is core to our work at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. By remaining at the forefront of research, we aim to ensure that our patients receive the best possible care. Our place at the top of the league table for the number of open studies is a testament to the work of our staff, including our clinical teams who lead and recruit to studies, and our experts supporting them behind the scenes.

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust recruited 19,712 participants, an increase of 20% on the previous year and placing the Trust in the top 10 in the country.

As part of an Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC), our partner trusts all benefit from a highly productive working relationship with our academic partner, King’s College London. King’s Health Partners uniquely has two joint NIHR Biomedical Research Centres that conduct translational research to transform scientific breakthroughs into life-saving treatments for patients.

Welcoming the figures, Prof Sir Robert Lechler, Executive Director of King’s Health Partners, said:

As an Academic Health Sciences Centre, our purpose is to translate cutting-edge research into excellent patient care. We know there is a clear correlation between the numbers of patients entering into trials and better clinical outcomes, so I am delighted to see that our trusts are continuing to lead clinical research.

A total of 870,250 participants took part in NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supported clinical research studies across England in 2018/19 – the highest number on record and an increase of more than 140,000 compared to the previous year. 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.

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