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Thousands in Oxfordshire take part in NHS research


More than 30,000 Oxfordshire participants took part in NHS research supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) last year, new figures show. 

Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust recruited 26,289 participants to 507 studies supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands (CRN) between April 2019 and March 2020.

There were also 4,100 participants in 49 studies in Oxfordshire community settings such as GP practices. 

A further 2,709 participants were involved in 59 studies at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which provides physical, mental health and social care in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset. 

The NIHR CRN provides staff such as research nurses to help doctors and professors run studies in the NHS.

Studies that took place in 2019/20 in Oxfordshire’s NHS included: 
A trial of an injectable drug for eczema 
A trial into using virtual reality to treat psychosis
Giving teenagers a meningitis B vaccine to prevent them from passing the infection onto others 
Surveys to understand the experiences of people with dementia

More than 2,800 participants are taking part in COVID-19 studies in Oxfordshire, which can involve drug trials, blood tests and online surveys.

Professor Keith Channon, Director of Research and Development at OUH, said: “Oxford is one of the most vibrant places for healthcare research in the world because of the fantastic close working relationship between the first-rate clinicians in the NHS trusts and the world-class university academics who work alongside them, underpinned by the vital support of the NIHR.

“But on top of this, it’s because of the willingness of the people of this area to get involved in research tackling a wide range of health conditions. Their participation allows Oxford to remain at the forefront of medical research, something that has become even more apparent with our leading role in tackling COVID-19.”

Bill Wells, Head of Research and Development at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our trust continues to work with its world-leading academic and NHS partners to maximise the research opportunities for patients and the public across Oxford and the Thames Valley. 

“In addition to almost 3,000 participants recruited to research studies, we are pleased to have supported the recruitment of over 700 participants to two mental health studies linked with schools.”

Participating in health research helps develop new treatments, improve the NHS and save lives. The NHS supports research by asking patients and healthy volunteers if they wish to take part in trials to enable participants to access new NHS treatment and care options.

Learn more about research at  

Data is sourced from the NIHR CRN Portfolio of studies, and does not include the participants recruited into other NIHR- and non-NIHR-supported studies.