More than 65,000 people across Shropshire and the West Midlands take part in clinical research studies in a year

More than 65,000 people have taken part in clinical research studies in Shropshire and the West Midlands over the past year, new figures show.

The total number of research participants in the region over the last five years has amounted to 334,784 – and for the second year running, every NHS trust in England recruited to studies.

New figures, which relate to 2019/20, have been released by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – the nation's largest funder of health and care research.

NHS trusts across the West Midlands, including Shropshire, supported 1,439 studies last year, and of these, 246 were commercial.

A total of 732,176 participants also took part nationally in NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supported studies in the 2019/20 financial year.

The highest recruiting medical specialty nationally was primary care, with 151,868 participants recruited.

This was also reflected in Shropshire and the West Midlands, with 24,382 participants enrolling at their GP surgery.

"The fact that so many people are getting involved in research through their local doctors' surgery really is great news," said Dr David Shukla, primary care specialty lead for the region.

"It shows that our GPs are really spreading the word – and patients are signing up enthusiastically."

Professor Jeremy Kirk, clinical director at NIHR CRN West Midlands, said: ‘These overall numbers are great for both NHS patients, who are helping to shape the treatments of tomorrow, and the NHS staff, who have had such a heavy workload, particularly during Covid-19.

"We thank them all for everything they put into research last year."

David Loughton, chief executive of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which hosts the network, said: "The accomplishments of the CRN in the region are testament to the hard work and commitment of the excellent staff, and the willingness of participants to give up their time to help others."

Dr William van’t Hoff, NIHR CRN chief executive officer, said he was delighted to see strong results of research delivery, reflecting the "tremendous amount of work from many different staff".

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.

It also supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low and middle income countries, using UK aid from the UK Government.

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