The number of clinical trials being undertaken by the National Health Service in England for the life sciences industry has leapt 18% in just a year, amid a 5% rise in overall research activity.

The number of open studies in the NHS 2014/15 was 4,932 compared to 4,687 in 2013/14, with more than 600,000 people taking part, of which almost 35,000 were recruited to trials sponsored by the life sciences industry, up 35% on last year.

“It is great to see that life science research activity across the NHS in England continues to grow,” said life sciences minister George Freeman. “Our world class NHS research infrastructure is not only benefiting patients but attracting huge investment to the UK and ensuring we remain a life science powerhouse”.

The league table, which is compiled by The National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network, is now in its fifth year and has developed a competitive edge for NHS Trusts in England.

Taking the top spots for the sheer number of studies carried out were: the Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust with 486, leading the table for the fourth year running; Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust with 468; and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS FT with 459.

Those achieving the biggest increase in studies included: University College London Hospitals NHS FT, Acute, with a 52 study increase; University Hospital Southampton NHS FT, Acute, with a 40 study rise; and King’s College Hospital NHS FT, Acute, also with a 40 study increase.