Western Sussex Hospitals have joined up with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals to form a new NHS Foundation Trust for our area: University Hospitals Sussex.

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Research team “proud and privileged” to work on national priority Covid-19 clinical trials

Friday May 22, 2020

More than 300 patients from Western Sussex Hospitals are taking part in Covid-19 clinical trials to help improve care for people with the new disease.

The Research & Innovation team have been working seven days a week to recruit patients into public health priority research trials. Head of Research, Dr Cate Bell, said: “There’s been tremendous support and engagement with Covid-19 research and amazing team working to ensure our patients have access to the new treatments being trialled.”

It’s important to contribute to the global data on Covid-19

The trust is recruiting patients into three trials in particular, which have been prioritised nationally as important Covid-19 research. The ISARIC trial aims to accelerate collective understanding to help improve patient care and inform public health policy. A so-called GenOMICC trial is investigating the role genes play in susceptibility to Covid-19 infection. And the RECOVERY trial hopes to identify new and effective Covid-19 medication.

Dr Bell said: “RECOVERY is now the largest randomised clinical trial with over 10,000 recruits nationally. Western Sussex Hospitals recruited the first and second patient in the region and we have now recruited 44 patients in total.

“On the GenOMICC trial, we have enrolled 30 people severely affected by Covid-19,” added Dr Bell.

Senior clinical research nurse, Yolanda Baird, said: “The ward staff have been great – highlighting new positive patients and the consultants, registrars and junior doctors have been helping to approach patients to give them the trial information, confirming eligibility and consenting onto the trials.

“And our own team have worked tirelessly on opening the three main trials, screening and recruiting patients and trying to ensure good quality vital data is being collected.”

Covid-19 rehabilitation and recovery research

In addition to the national trials, the trust is also carrying out regional research into patient recovery from Covid-19.

Led by ITU and respiratory consultant, Dr Luke Hodgson (pictured left above), a multi-disciplinary team including physios, doctors, nurses, and psychologists has launched a multi-centre mixed methods study to investigate how people recover from Covid-19 as well as how best to support them during the current social-distancing guidelines.

Dr Hodgson said: “There are currently no other national trials exploring this aspect of care and there is little information about how people are impacted long term and how they recover following Covid-19 related critical illness. Several other trusts across Surrey and Sussex will be taking part in the study and we hope this will provide important information nationally.”

A patient’s perspective of research

After admission to St Richard’s Carl Carter (pictured above) spent almost a month receiving lifesaving treatment in ITU and Petworth ward for Covid-19. During this time he was enrolled onto clinical trials.

“I’m absolutely blown away by the genuine care from all of the staff, from doctors and nurses to therapists and catering staff,” said Carl.

I urge everyone who is eligible to sign up

“I cannot thank them enough. Staff were in constant contact with my family whilst I was on a ventilator and they kept them well informed of my progress and even after I was discharged, the follow-up care I have received has been amazing.

“The research team have been great. They were very informative to both me and my partner, and I was well informed throughout the process.

“I was more than happy to take part in the research. I hope it helps improve future treatments and give a better quality of life to those who experience something such as Covid-19.

“The more people that take the part the better and I urge everyone who is eligible to sign up.”

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