£7m investment in new Patient Recruitment Centres

NHS patients will benefit from easier access to clinical research opportunities, following a £7 million government investment to launch five new regional Patient Recruitment Centres (PRCs) across England.

The five new centres provide opportunities for patients in regions across England who may not previously have been able to take part in cutting edge clinical studies. During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the new centres will also increase opportunities for patients to access trials assessing the latest potential treatments against the virus, as well as all other healthcare specialities.

The centres will increase the NHS’s capacity to deliver vital research for patients, while decreasing the time it takes to set-up late-phase commercial trials within the NHS - improving the UK’s competitiveness in the global market and providing opportunities for patients to benefit from early access to innovation.

The five new Patient Recruitment Centres, which will be managed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and run by NHS trusts, will be based within the following NHS trusts: Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust; The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Dr William van’t Hoff, chief executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: “The importance of clinical research has never been more evident than in the Covid-19 pandemic. The NIHR has been able to help fund and to support key research studies and trials into the basis, genetics, prognosis and, critically, to offer potential treatments, including the largest global clinical treatment trial in Covid-19. These centres now give us a further dimension and opportunity to offer large scale trials, for instance in treatments for Covid-19, and to help deliver those at pace and scale. Looking further, they will help us build on our position as a great country to support life-sciences research.

“The investment in these new centres will also significantly increase the NHS’s capacity to deliver research - benefiting the UK economy by attracting more life science investment in the UK, while creating jobs and generating income and savings for the NHS trusts who will deliver them - a welcome boost for our country’s health service.”

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