Local medical staff work towards new treatments

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A SMALL team of specialist nurses and data co-ordinators are playing a vital part in helping to discover new innovative and ground-breaking treatments for patients.

The Research and Professional Development Team, working together with clinicians, at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is at the forefront of clinical trials in oncology, haematology, diabetes, stroke, surgery, cardiology and reproductive health.

Head of Research and Professional Development Debrah Bates said: “We are a small but expanding team which includes ten research nurses and data co-ordinators whose primary aim is to ensure our patients have access to, and the opportunity of, participating in clinical trials as part of their treatment and care. We work closely with doctors in identifying suitable patients.”

Generic Research Nurse Heather Gallagher said: “Without clinical trials many treatments and therapies in use currently within the NHS would not be available, and without patients and members of the public actively participating, clinical trials would not be possible.”

“By participating in clinical trials patients are gaining access to groundbreaking treatments, and contributing to the development of better treatments and therapies for other people and patients in the future.”

The team has an excellent track record in recruiting patients to clinical trials. Heather said: “In 2009/10 we recruited 770 patients but this almost doubled in 2010/2011 with 1,445 people.”

Research is important for a number of reasons, including:

To test effectiveness of current different treatments and medications

To test effectiveness and safety of new innovative treatments and medications

To prevent disease and reduce the number of people who become ill

To treat illness and disease to improve patient’s quality of life, improve survival or increase the number of people cured

To find better ways of diagnosing diseases (i.e. genetic testing)

Improve healthcare

Adds to the UK economy.

Heather said: “The team, working closely with clinicians, is pivotal in co-ordinating high quality research within the Trust and maximising patient recruitment to clinical trials. We are also always looking to expand our portfolio of clinical trials we can currently offer.

“It isn’t just about sitting in an office looking at data. We work with clinicians and their teams, as well as patients to ensure they receive the specialist nursing care they require while taking part in a trial.”

Debrah added: “It is thanks to a multi-disciplinary team, including nurses, doctors, Data coordinators, pharmacy, radiology, pathology and others, that we are able to provide such high quality clinical trials within our hospitals. And of course without the patients, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this excellent work.”