Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health trust is one of the country’s leading centres for research, recent figures have revealed.
A report released by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network has ranked Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust as the 12th highest recruiting mental health trust out of 57.
Dr Jon Wilson, Consultant Psychiatrist and Deputy Medical Director (Research), said: “These figures are really promising. Research is one of the Trust’s top priorities as it allows us to develop the highest quality services and treatments and improve patient safety.
“We conduct a range of studies including drug trials, new psychological interventions and observational studies and the majority of these are high-quality national studies. Our largest amount of work looks at schizophrenia, psychosis and depression. We have more upcoming studies about dementia in early stages of development.”
The 12th position includes figures for the former Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, which is incorporated into the Trust’s main results, as well as those for the former Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and show that the Trusts combined recruited over 1000 participants into research studies between 2011-12.
“The best thing from our perspective is that the top ten trusts are all established centres for national mental health research,” Dr Wilson added. “It is great that we’re starting to build a good enough research profile to move up those rankings towards those recognised centres of excellence!”
The Trust works closely with Clinical Research Networks - Norfolk and Suffolk Comprehensive Local Research Network, the Mental Health Research Network East of England, and Dementia and Neurodegenerative Disease Research Network East Anglia – who provide support to set-up and promote studies.
In addition to supporting and monitoring all research projects taking place in the Trust, the research team provides advice on: NHS Research Governance approval, grant applicationdevelopment, support for recruitment of participants into studies and intellectual property.
The Trust also provides internal training for research staff as part of the research training programme, which is focuses on developing the skills needed to promote, explain and recruit participants onto studies.
Dr Wilson added: “Our staff, who are based both in a central research and development team and out in localities, work very hard to attend team meetings and speak to clinical teams face-to-face as much as possible. We have a very hands-on approach in terms of study promotion, with dedicated trust research forums in each locality on a quarterly basis.”