The proportion of National Health Service Trusts engaged in research activity across England widened from 97% in 2010/11 to 99% in 2011/12, reveals the second annual league table published by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN).

The figures for the last financial year show that the number of recruiting studies delivered by these Trusts ranged from 404 to just one study during 2011/12.

That compared with a range of 322 to one study in 2010/11. The number of patients enrolled by recruiting Trusts in the latest league table was anything between three and 20,612. Nearly 600,000 patients in total were recruited during 2011/12.

Trust clusters

The new league table for the first time categorises NHS Trusts into clusters of organisations with similar characteristics, such as primary care, mental health or large acute Trusts, allowing comparisons to be made between Trusts in similar circumstances.

“Viewing the data in this way demonstrates that NHS organisations of all types and sizes are increasing the reach of research and giving more patients the chance to take part,” the NIHE CRHN commented.

Care, mental health and ambulance Trusts, which are traditionally areas of lower research activity, were among the top 10 Trusts during 2011/12 in terms of the percentage increase achieved in the volume of research studies undertaken, it noted.

Most studies

An acute teaching Trust, The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, delivered the largest number of recruiting studies during the last financial year – 404 compared with 321 in 2010/11.

The Trust with the highest number of patients recruited during 2011/12 was University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, another acute teaching Trust, with 20,612 patients enrolled for 86 studies.