NIHR CRN patient numbers up 7% in 2012/13

The number of NHS patients taking part in studies run by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) across England rose by 7% year on year to more than 630,000 in 2012/13.

This means the delivery arm for clinical research in the National Health Service has tripled patient recruitment in just six years, it noted.

The NIHR CRN has been collecting data on the number of patients volunteering for clinical-research studies over that period, and has seen participation year by year. 

99% of Trusts recruiting

The latest data from the Network also show that the proportion of research-active NHS Trusts recruiting patients onto NIHR CRN Portfolio studies remains high at 99%.

At the end of 2012/13, the Network was supporting more than 4,200 studies in the NHS, a 12% increase on the previous year. During the last financial year, NIHR CRN pledged research-delivery support to 1,592 new studies, 17% more than in 2011/12.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, chief executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, wants to build on that progress.

“Our vision is for participation in a clinical research study to be a treatment option for all patients, no matter where they are treated or what condition they have,” he commented. 

“We are still a way off that, but with the number of patients involved in clinical research up seven per cent last year, things are heading in the right direction.”

Study set-up

The speed of study set-up through the Network has improved five-fold in two years, the data reveal. The median number of days it takes to gain NHS permission for all study sites is now 44 calendar days.

Moreover, the percentage of studies recruiting to time and target is improving year on year. Over the last two years, this figure has doubled across the Network Portfolio, NIHR CRN reported.