A quarter more residents were offered the opportunity to take part in research in North West London last year, according to the latest figures released by the National Institute of Health Research.
Clinical research is the way clinicians, including GPs, dentists and pharmacists, gather evidence about new treatments, in order to improve patient care in the NHS.
The 2017/18 National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research League Tables show that 971 studies opened in North West London last year, 884 supported by NHS hospital trusts and 87 by CCGs.
NHS Brent CCG recruited 2,953 participants, up from 459 in 2016/17, an increase of 543%. This makes them the sixth highest recruiting CCG in England, and second in terms of the biggest increase in numbers.
NHS Harrow CCG topped the table nationally in terms of the biggest increase in participants from the previous year, going from just 30 to 1,828 or 5993%.
The biggest rise was seen in patients taking part in research close to home through their local GP practices, where the majority of common illnesses and conditions are treated.
Juliet Ireson is one local resident benefiting from taking part in research after being approached by her GP at Fulham Medical Centre. She took part in the ANTLER study, looking at the effectiveness of staying on antidepressants after patients have improved in order to avoid relapse into depression - which may not be necessary in all cases.
The results of the study will let doctors give better advice on whether to continue with antidepressants or to stop the treatment.
“I’ve been on and off antidepressants for 40 years. I was approached by my fantastic GP, Dr Pearson, who asked if I was interested, and of course I said yes.”
“I’ve got nothing but praise for how the trial has been run, and would have no qualms about taking part in any other studies.”
Local GP and Clinical Research Network North West London Primary Care lead, Dr David Mummery, says:
“This is wonderful news for our patients who I would like to thank for volunteering - being involved in research will not only have benefitted them but also many more patients in the future.”
Dr Robina Coker, Clinical Lead for the Clinical Research Network North West, says:
"It's terrific to see a significant increase in clinical research in community settings, alongside the studies in our hospitals. Community involvement is particularly important to help make sure that research is readily available to all our patients, wherever they live and wherever they are cared for. Thank you to everyone for your support in this vital endeavour; it really does make a difference."