The top trust in the South West for recruiting people into clinical research studies was the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust in 2016-17.

The RD&E enrolled 5,040 patients, of which 1,183 were into Diabetes research studies, 412 for Cancer and 396 Gastroenterology during the last financial year ending March 2017. Patients had the opportunity to participate in 219 different health research trials conducted by the RD&E.

This month public engagement events and activities are being held as part of International Clinical Trials Day celebrations. The global annual awareness raising day (20 May) marks the anniversary of the achievement of Royal Navy officer James Lind in 1747. It was his trial of different treatments of sailors with Scurvy which discovered that Scurvy was caused by a lack of Vitamin C and citrus fruits like lemons and oranges were an effective way of preventing and treating this illness.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network for the South West peninsula has reported that 24,838 participants were recruited by healthcare providers across Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in 2016-17. This is 3,536 more participants than the number recruited by the network in 2015-16.

Clinical Director of the Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula Professor Anthony Woolf said: “Over 3,500 more people took the opportunity to participate in clinical research studies in 2016-17 than the previous year in our region. This is a tremendous achievement by hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacists and community health care providers in partnership with patients and members of the public who generously give research their time to help the global effort to improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survival of people now and in the future.”

Prof Woolf added: “One hundred per cent of acute hospital, mental health partnership and community trusts in our region played a vital role in enabling people to participate in research studies sponsored by academic institutions and health charities and 82% of Trusts contributed to recruitment to commercially sponsored trials. GP practices enrolled over 4,770 people.

“The South West was ranked the best Clinical Research Network out of 15 in England for enrolling patients onto Injuries and Emergencies specialty studies and it was second placed for Stroke, Diabetes and Neurology studies (adjusted for population).