East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is conducting over seventy clinical research studies, and is committed to improving the quality of care we offer and to making our contribution to wider health improvement.
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Research helps us increase our knowledge about human health and wellbeing. This is so we can:
- provide life changing treatments
- diagnose diseases earlier or more accurately
- prevent people from developing conditions
- improve health and care for generations to come
- ensure everyone has a better quality of life.
Overall, the aim is to find out whether what is being tested is better than what is currently available. This can include therapies, medicines and services.
Although health professionals already know a great deal, there are still so many questions that need answers.
The Trust currently supports research activity within several clinical fields including:
- Critical Care
- Sexual Health
- Surgery and Neurology
In fact we are currently involved with over 60 projects.
If you’re thinking of taking part in a research study, you’ll be wondering how studies are designed so you know what’s involved.
All studies are designed differently depending on what is being researched.
Regulation around research is tight. The rules are there to ensure that every phase of a trial or study is run safely. To find out more about how trials are regulated, approved and funded in the UK visit the National Institute of Health Research website.
Clinical trials assess new treatments, technologies or methods, whilst other research studies help better understand health and specific conditions.
What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial compares the effects of 1 treatment with another. It may involve patients, healthy people, or both.
Testing a new medicine
All clinical trials of new medicines go through a series of phases to test whether they’re safe and whether they work.
The medicines will usually be tested against another treatment called a control.
This will either be a dummy treatment (a placebo) or a standard treatment already in use.
Phase 1 trials
A small number of people, who may be healthy volunteers, are given the medicine.
The drug is being trialled in human volunteers for the first time.
Researchers test for side effects and calculate what the right dose might be to use in treatment.
Researchers start with small doses and only increase the dose if the volunteers do not experience any side effects, or if they only experience minor side effects.
Phase 2 trials
The new medicine is tested on a larger group of people who are ill. This is to get a better idea of its effects in the short term.
Phase 3 trials
Carried out on medicines that have passed phases 1 and 2.
The medicine is tested in larger groups of people who are ill, and compared against an existing treatment or a placebo to see if it’s better in practice and if it has important side effects.
Trials often last a year or more and involve several thousand patients.
Phase 4 trials
The safety, side effects and effectiveness of the medicine continue to be studied while it’s being used in practice.
Not required for every medicine.
Only carried out on medicines that have passed all the previous stages and have been given marketing licences – a licence means the medicine is available on prescription.
Why join a clinical trial?
Clinical trials help doctors understand how to treat a particular illness. It may benefit you, or others like you, in the future.
If you take part in a clinical trial, you may be one of the first people to benefit from a new treatment.
But there’s also a chance that the new treatment turns out to be no better, or worse, than the standard treatment.
Will I get paid?
Some clinical trials offer payment, which can vary from hundreds to thousands of pounds depending on what’s involved and expected from you.
Some trials do not offer payment and just cover your travel expenses.
It’s important to find out about the inconvenience and risks involved before you sign up, and to carefully weigh up whether it’s worth it.
Bear in mind:
- it can be time consuming – you may be expected to attend a number of screening and follow-up sessions, and some trials require you to stay overnight
- there may be restrictions on what you can and cannot do – for example, you may be asked to not eat or not drink alcohol for a period of time
- you may experience unknown side effects from the treatment
Where can I find the results to a study?
It may take several months before the results of a study are available, even after a study has finished collecting data. If you’ve taken part in a study, you can ask the study team how you can find out the results of the study.
For studies listed on Be Part of Research, we will try to update the information on our site with any publications, but you can also go back to the initial sources, ClinicalTrials.gov or ISRCTN.com where the publications may be listed.
Any studies which were funded by NIHR should publish their results on the NIHR journals library.
Every minute in the UK, someone is diagnosed with a disease or a condition. The treatment and support they will receive will, at some point, have been informed by research. Whether it’s testing a new medicine, a new surgery procedure or scan, or trying healthier lifestyle choices to prevent disease, everyone has an important role to play – if they want to.
Important discoveries so far
Research helps to provide those answers. Here are some important research discoveries that shape our healthcare today:
Penicillin was discovered in 1928 and developed into a drug in the early 1940s. Today it’s used to treat a broad range of bacterial infections accounting for around 45% of the antibiotics prescribed in the NHS in England.
Research in the 1980s and 1990s showed that low doses of blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin and warfarin significantly reduced the number of heart attacks and strokes in people at risk.
A UK-wide service that makes it easy for anyone to take part in vital dementia research. Anyone over 18 can sign up, whether you have dementia or not.
Simply register your details and a researcher will be in touch when an appropriate study becomes available. You can decide whether to take part in individual studies, with no obligation.
There are many opportunities to support research. Whether it’s learning more about it or suggesting topics, there are lots of ways you can help to improve health and care in the UK.
Volunteer to improve research
If you have a more time, feel confident enough to get more involved or have already taken part in a research study you might be interested in a more formal volunteer role:
Become an ambassador
If you actively want to promote health research this is the activity for you. You could be anyone – member of the public, patient, carer – as long as you are enthusiastic about health research and are comfortable talking to people about it.
Interested in becoming an ambassador?
People in Research
People in Research is an online list of the opportunities available to you. Researchers use it to find members of the public who want to get involved in their research. Click here to view the current opportunities
There are several ways to find out about clinical research:
- Get in touch with a member of the clinical research team – Tel: 0300 131 4500 Ext: 133034 or Ext: 133155 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Take a look at Healthtalk website – you can find out about the experience of taking part in a clinical trial, by listening to people share their personal stories on film
- The Patient Advice and Liaison Service provides confidential, on-the-spot advice and support, helping you to sort out any concerns you may have about the care we provide, guiding you through the different advice and support.
We are an active partner of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex, encouraging UK Clinical Research Network (UKCRN) portfolio trials into the hospital.
Many of the research studies which we run feature on the NIHR page #BePartofResearch which provides easy to understand information about clinical research trials running in the UK, and gives access to a range of information about these trials.
It is East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trusts’ ambition that every patient should be offered the opportunity to participate in research. To take part in a research study within our hospitals please speak to your healthcare professional during your next visit.
For more information contact:
Clinical Research Team
0300 131 4500 Ext: 133034 or Ext: 133155