Clinical trials and research

Why is research important?

Every minute in the UK, someone is diagnosed with a disease or a condition. The treatment and support that person will receive has, at some point, been informed by research and perhaps by clinical trial.

Research helps to provide valuable knowledge to advance medicine, to find new cures and better treatments so people live healthier and better lives now and in the future. It helps improve health and social care services, develop physical and psychological therapies and helps progress methods of diagnosing disease.

Research is critically important to the NHS and St Mary’s is a research active practice. This means we support a variety of research studies and clinical trials across a range of medical areas and health conditions, and particularly ones relevant to Primary Care.

St Mary’s Surgery takes part in research being carried out by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR is the research arm of the NHS and is funded by the Department of Health.

We are also affiliated to the UK Primary Care Research Network (UKPCRN). The UK Research Network works in tandem with the UK Clinical Research Collaboration towards developing a world class infrastructure to support clinical research in the UK.

What are the benefits of GP practices taking part in research?

  • It offers patients access to new treatments
  • It brings a new dimension to the practice and added skills to those involved
  • It provides national gold standard training for research for the staff involved
  • It offers mentorship and support for those involved in research within the practice.

Why should a patient get involved?

A patient may want to get involved in research to:

  • learn more about a condition affecting them
  • make a difference, by helping to improve and develop treatments and quality of life now and for future generations
  • support medical research for a particular condition or disease
  • access new treatments, or
  • take an active role in their own care.

Patients volunteering to take part in research also helps to ensure that the NHS is constantly striving to find better treatments and care provision.

There are many different types of research a patient can be involved with from observational surveys, to providing biobank samples to full clinical trials involving new medications.

I would like to be involved, how can I take part?

  • A doctor or nurse may talk to you about a particular study and ask whether you would be interested in participating
  • You may be sent information through the post if we feel you may be a suitable participant
  • You may read information about a current study in the patient waiting room or on the surgery website and wish to take part by contacting your GP or our reception team.

All clinical research carried out through our surgery is thoroughly checked and approved by ethical committees, thus ensuring it is appropriate and safe to perform. Your participation is entirely voluntary and can be withdrawn by yourself at any time without any explanation required.

  • You are under no obligation to participate in any research project
  • Your care and your relationship with your doctor will not be affected in any way if you decided not to take part in a research study
  • You will always receive clear information about what taking part in a research study would involve. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and obtain further details about a study. 

If you do agree to take part in a study, you will be asked to sign a consent form. This will clearly state which parts of your notes (if any) may be looked at for the purposes of the research study. Nobody from outside this practice will be given your contact details or have access to your medical records without your prior consent.

Clinical research - lab testing
Clinical research is essential

Current studies

  1. PRINCIPLE is a COVID-19 research study being run by Oxford University.

If you have symptoms of COVID 19, are aged 65 or over, OR are aged 50-64 and have an existing health condition, you may be eligible to join this important study.

If you’d like to discuss taking part in PRINCIPLE, please speak to your GP.

2. Barack D. This is a study looking at the benefits of aldosterone receptor antagonism in chronic kidney disease.

3. SAFER research trial. This study is researching screening for a common heart condition known to be a trigger for strokes. Find out more or how you can be involved here. [Study is now full – 12/5/21]

4. AstraZeneca vaccine study run by the UK’s Drug Safety Research Unit.. An opportunity to help inform future vaccine development.

5. COV-Boost. The world’s first COVID vaccine booster trial. Be part of the team that shapes the national booster programme.

Find out more about taking part in research and clinical trials:

Be part of research (NIHR)

NHS & clinical trials 

Updated: 29.6.21