PATIENTS have been given more access to better care, services and treatment following an increase in research by the trust which runs Andover War Memorial Hospital.

According to new figures Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation (HHFT), which also runs Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, recruited 3,813 participants into research studies between April 2018 and March this year, more than a 100 per cent increase on the same period in 2017/18 when just 1,772 people were signed up.

The numbers by the National Institute for Health Research Actvity League Table (NIHR) also placed HHFT in the top ten trusts in England for recruitment to commercial studies in the last year.

This performance means the trust is ranked the second most improved in England.

Dr Sarah Clarke, the trust’s research and development manager, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for everyone at Hampshire Hospitals. Our staff are committed to providing high quality research opportunities for our patients, and along with a first global participant in 2018/19, demonstrates our capability to successfully deliver commercial research.

“We know from feedback how much our patients appreciate being offered research opportunities, and our staff have worked exceptionally hard to ensure as many as possible are given this opportunity.”

Promoting, conducting and using clinical research to improve treatments, care and services for patients is part of the NHS England Constitution.

Nationally, the number of participants recruited into clinical research studies by the NIHR in 2018/19 exceeded 870,000, the highest number on record and an increase of over 140,000 since last year.

Jonathan Sheffield, chief executive officer of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: “It’s been a fantastic year for health and care research across England, with 100 per cent of trusts supporting research studies, providing patients with more opportunities than ever before to take part in vital research which improves future treatment and care.

"There’s a growing body of evidence which suggests that research-active hospitals have lower mortality rates, and better patient outcomes, so the NIHR Clinical Research Network will continue to work closely with the NHS organisations to ensure that research continues to be offered to people as part of quality patient care.

"The number of patients taking part in research this year is a significant step towards meeting the NHS Long Term Plan, of one million people being registered as interested in taking part in research by 2024. I would like to thank all those hard-working NHS staff who are supporting the delivery of research in addition to their clinical duties, as we could not achieve these results without you.”

The NIHR Research Activity League Table provides a picture of how much clinical research is happening, where, in what types of Trusts, and involving how many patients.