Research participation levels still high despite unprecedented challenges

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) have announced that despite unprecedented challenges, research participation levels remain “remarkably” high.

The 2020/21 year was an incredibly busy year in the research community as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the public have continued providing their crucial support through the 2021/22 year as well. 1,289,937 individuals took part in over 4,600 portfolio studies across England between April 2021 and March 2022.

Every single NHS Trust across England managed to recruit participants for clinical research trials last year, with 51% of GPs also recruiting participants for NIHR CRN supported studies – further paving the way for more and more people to take part in research at the first point of care.

These latest statistics come from the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) and bare good news for their mission of increasing diversity in research studies and improving health outcomes in under-served communities.

Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: “Against the backdrop of the pandemic and as we support the recovery of the UK research portfolio, our roles and achievements for NIHR remain vital.

“I want to offer a huge thank you to everyone who’s been involved in the incredible successes over the last year. By taking part, shaping or delivering this research you have helped develop the evidence and treatments that will benefit us all.

“This year we look forward to further building on these successes - playing our role contributing to the system-wide Research Reset programme, increasing our research in primary care and community settings, and further ensuring our research meets the needs of all our communities, across the country, so we can improve health, care and quality of life for everyone.”

A major facet of research in recent times has been Covid-19 studies, given the word’s current plight, and the CRN has played a vital role in these trials, with 772,359 individuals participating across the UK in 308 Covid-19 studies.

One of the more significant Covid-19 study successes was the PANORMIC trial, which has become the UK’s fastest recruiting primary care intervention trial with NIHR CRN support. The PANORAMIC study is the largest trial of community-based treatment for Covid-19 anywhere in the world.

A constant and steady flow of willing participants is integral to the success of research studies – studies which have propelled the UK to the top of charts in terms of pioneering clinical trials, especially those pertaining to Covid-19.

More information about the NIHR and the success of their research is available here.

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