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North East NHS Trust celebrates top three position for research recruitment.

Posted: 09/07/19

A North East NHS Trust is celebrating being listed in the top three mental health Trusts across the country for recruitment to research studies.

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), which provides mental health and disability services across the region, has been listed as third in the country in a national league table of research activity published by the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Clinical Research Network.

NTW is third in the national table of recruitment from mental health trusts, with 3172 participants recruited from NTW. This represents an 84% increase on the previous year – the biggest increase in the number of research participants across the region.

By taking part in research we are able to discover and develop new treatments, and make sure that those who use our services are able to access state of the art support.

This excellent news from the new league tables show that NTW is moving firmly in the right direction, allowing us to offer the opportunity to participate in important clinical research trials to an ever greater proportion of service users.

It also suggests that more of our clinicians and clinical teams are involved in research and are able to access the help and support required in order to manage these studies to a high standard.  I’m delighted therefore, that the hard work of local clinicians has been recognised in this national ranking.

Simon DouglasJoint Director of Research, Innovation and Clinical Effectiveness at NTW

The NIHR’s league table provides information on how much clinical research is taking place in England, including research activity and numbers of participants recruited into large-scale clinical research.

The table also measures the numbers of large scale clinical research studies actively recruiting NHS participants. In this area NTW has been in the top five of mental health Trusts for research activity throughout the six years in which the league tables have been published, and retains this place in the latest table, by achieving fifth position in 2018/19 with 56 research studies.

Recent nationally significant research at NTW has included the “Blue Room”, an immersive virtual reality (VR) treatment for children with autism and phobias developed with specialists at Newcastle University.

NTW is also one of just three clinical sites in the UK taking part in a multinational research study into the safety and efficacy of psilocybin therapy in people with treatment resistant depression. Psilocybin is a naturally occurring chemical found in particular species of mushrooms, sometimes referred to as magic mushrooms, and is one of a group of drugs known as psychedelics which may have the potential to help people with depression who have not responded to conventional antidepressants.

NTW is also a partner on the national “gameChange” study which is the largest ever clinical trial of virtual reality for a mental health disorder, and aims to establish whether VR based psychological therapy could help people with severe mental health difficulties.

More information on NTW’s Research team is available here.