Morecambe Bay an active area for research

Lancashire North is one of the most active areas in the North West when it comes to clinical research.

Over 500 local patients have been recruited to take part in ten National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) studies in seven of the general practices in the Lancashire North area, with further patients being recruited at Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Studies have covered patients with kidney disease, arthritis, stomach infections, and bowel and lung cancers amongst other conditions.

The NHS Constitution cites clinical research as a core part of the NHS, enabling the NHS “to improve the current and future health of the population”.

Local general practices and research networks have been working together to make sure that health research provides the evidence needed to improve healthcare and treatment.

Dr Simon Wetherell, a GP in Lancaster, said: “Research is crucial for all parts of the NHS as it helps us to move forward. We need research to know about the prevention, diagnosis and management of a wide range of health conditions. By continually questioning what we know, we can improve the healthcare and quality of life of our patients.”

Dr Alex Gaw, a local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), added: “As a clinical commissioning group we are constantly trying to drive improvement and innovation in local healthcare. The fact that this area has such a high volume of clinical research studies taking place shows its dedication to constantly improving patient care.”

There are many ways to get involved as a participant in research:

• Ask the person treating you if you can get involved in research – this could be your GP, consultant, surgeon, nurse or therapist.
• Visit the Involve website – part of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) which specialises in supporting greater public involvement in research.
• Visit to understand more about clinical and medical trials and which studies are recruiting.