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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Top recruiters for SPIT study

Monday February 11, 2019


WSHT Research nurses have won an award for being the ‘Top Recruiter’ of participants into a national study looking at the use of saliva to predict oesophageal cancer, and potentially colorectal cancer.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) commended the trust’s research team for exceeding their target and recruiting 117 participants to the Saliva to Predict risk of disease using transcriptomics and epigenetics study, known as SPIT for short.

Head of Research, Dr Cate Bell, said: “It’s fantastic that all the team’s hard work for the SPIT trial has been recognised nationally and it’s a great achievement to be the top recruiter in the UK. It also shows how our commitment to increasing research opportunities for patients at Western Sussex Hospitals is contributing to improving care for all NHS patients.”

Across the trust there are more than 160 clinical trials open in a wide range of clinical specialities, from maternity to older persons care, with almost 2,000 new patients taking part this year alone.

Research really makes a difference, providing opportunities for patients to access new treatments and medicines as well as improving health outcomes and experience.

The SPIT study, which if conclusive could significantly reduce the need for patients with some suspected cancers to undergo endoscopy, has two separate parts.

Firstly, recruiting patients waiting for an endoscopy to answer an electronic questionnaire. And secondly, asking selected participants to complete the same questionnaire and provide saliva and blood samples, as well as oesophageal biopsies.

NIHR delivery manager for cancer research, Nicola Southwell, praised the sensitive approach WSHT Research staff employed to recruit patients.

She said: “The careful planning undertaken by the team at the outset has clearly led to this impressive recruitment. It is also fantastic to see the sensitivity afforded to the best time to approach patients, keeping their interests at the top of the agenda.”

Speaking on behalf of the team, research nurse Yvette Thirlwall said: “The St. Richard’s and Worthing research teams are delighted to be able to contribute towards improving methods to investigate abnormalities in the oesophagus.

“We would like to thank our wonderful endoscopy team who have supported the study and our amazing and ever willing participants for making this achievement possible.”

Dr Bell added: “Research really makes a difference, providing opportunities for patients to access new treatments and medicines as well as improving health outcomes and experience.

“That’s why the trust is also supporting development of a new Clinical Academic Programme for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professional groups with new roles enabling them to combine research and practice to make a real difference to improving patient care.”

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