The Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) recently launched ‘It’s Ok to Ask about Clinical Research’ - a campaign giving service users information on what clinical research is, who can take part and how to get involved.
Clinical trials in renal, diabetes, stroke, critical care and cancer treatments are currently offered by the Northern Trust for service users to participate in.
A clinical trial involves volunteers some of whom may be healthy, others involve patients who may be offered the option of taking part in a trial during their care and treatment. The volunteers answer specific health questions, including if a new treatment works and if it has any side effects. Clinical trials are the safest and fastest way to discover how treatments work and provide new ways to improve health.
Frances Johnston, Research Governance Manager, Northern Trust said: “High quality clinical research is vital if we are to improve the evidence base that underpins the delivery of health and social care. Well managed and controlled clinical trials make an important contribution to and improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of illness and disease.
“Clinical Research promotes the opportunity for people to influence the services they receive. If you have a condition and are undergoing treatment, you should ask your health care professional about clinical trials or other research studies, and whether any may be right for you, all you have to do is ask!”
A service user on a critical care trial commented: “I wanted to give something back and I hope that clinical trials will help others as much as it’s helped me after being so unwell.
“I felt that I hadn’t been forgotten about because there was always a research appointment for follow up which gave the opportunity to meet with the staff who cared for me.”
A multidisciplinary team made up of researchers, doctors, and other health professionals administer clinical trials in strict accordance with the rules and guidance set out by government regulatory bodies such as the UK Medicines for Health Care Regulatory Agency (MHRA), or the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the valuable participation of volunteers. The Northern Trust currently works in partnership with the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network (NICRN) and the Northern Ireland Cancer Trials Network (NICTN) to take forward their clinical trials.
To find out more about clinical research, visit the links - www.crn.nihr.ac.uk/ppi, www.nicrn.hscni.net, www.qub.ac.uk/nictc. These provide more information about what clinical research is and some of the clinical trials happening locally. If patients have any other condition not listed and are interested in clinical trials they should contact Sonia McKenna from the NICRN on 028 9063 6367.