Thanks to a record breaking year for clinical research, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells (MTW) NHS Trust has been ranked 3rd in the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Research Activity League Table for Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
A total of 3,023 people took part in research projects in 2018/19 in comparison to 1,538 in 2017/18 – a 96 per cent increase.
The increase in patient research numbers is partly credited to the ‘MenB’ (Meningococcal Group B Bacteria) clinical trial which the Trust is taking part in along with 25 other Trusts across the country. It aims to collect data to inform central government that a national Meningitis B vaccination programme should be rolled out for teenagers.
Meningococcal bacteria, which presents a higher risk to young people and babies, can cause meningitis, sepsis, and blood poisoning. As part of the research, a team of MTW research nurses and practitioners visited 26 schools where 2,246 Year 12 pupils signed up to have a throat swab taken to check for the Meningitis B bacteria strain. The team then returned in Year 13 to take another throat swab to measure any significant changes or developments. All pupils that took part in the trial were offered a free vaccination against Meningitis B which is currently only available privately.
Hazel Everest, Research and Development Manager, said: “This is a fantastic result and demonstrates the hard work of the Trust’s research teams. Our aim and long-term aspiration is to increase the opportunities for patients and the public to participate in, and benefit from, our clinical research trials. We want to develop innovative treatments that are less invasive and provide safe, efficient recovery for patients.”
Clinical Research and Development projects examine and investigate behaviours, symptoms and healthcare science that determines the safety and effectiveness of medications, devices, diagnostics and treatments intended for human use.
MTW has a multidisciplinary team consisting of research nurses, physiotherapists, midwives, practitioners, clinical trials administrators, pharmacists, radiotherapists, governance officers and medical staff who all work hard to ensure high quality, safe, seamless and efficient research standards are delivered.
These results reflect positively on the Trust and attract, develop and retain the best research professionals to conduct people-based research. It also provides opportunities to work with other partners, academic institutions, universities and generates income for the Trust.
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is working towards its Clinical Research and Development being recognised as a centre of research excellence.