Thank you to 365,000 people who have taken part in healthcare research in last 10 years



    Thank you



    A Leicestershire man with Type 2 diabetes is backing a campaign to encourage research participation by urging others to help “improve the quality of someone’s life”. 


    Roy Pearce, from South Wigston, was diagnosed with the condition when he was 21 but says his diabetes has never been better managed since he has been supporting the research at the Leicester Diabetes Centre.

    He is this week supporting the ‘OK to ask campaign’ launched by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to encourage more patients or carers to ask about research opportunities that could be available to them or their loved ones. The campaign is marking the NIHR’s tenth anniversary.

    In the last 10 years 365, 000 people in the East Midlands are estimated to have taken part in clinical research supported by the National Institute of Health Research, the research arm of the NHS.

    Research heroes like Roy Pearce from Leicester – who has been taking part in healthcare research at the Leicester Diabetes Centre for 15 years – are helping to pave the way for new, improved NHS treatments and services.

    Clinical research helps the NHS identify the best interventions and treatments for patients, which have the potential to improve the lives of those affected now, and in the future. More volunteers are needed to take part in clinical research if this vital work is to continue.

    As well as thanking patients and the public for their invaluable contribution to clinical research, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) is also asking more people to get involved visiting

    The NIHR ‘OK to Ask' campaign www.nihr.ac.uk/oktoask calls on patients, their families and carers to ask their nurse or doctor about taking part in health research. The NHS Constitution gives everyone the right to information about research they could participate in, as part of their everyday healthcare.

    Roy Pearce, aged 71, who previously ran his own business and also worked as a prison officer, has been involved in clinical trials for 15 years at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, a partnership between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester, hosted at Leicester General Hospital. He said:


    “I was asked one day about whether I was willing to help in a research study and I thought why not, if it’s going to help to potentially improve the quality of someone’s life, then why not.

    “They are most welcoming and they will help you and keep you as fit as you can be. They ring you straight back when you call and leave a message.

    “They look after you very well and everyone is very helpful and they always ask how you are – they are absolutely brilliant.

    “If you feel a bit off colour there is always somebody at the other end of the phone to talk to. They are keeping me at the optimum level of health, you don’t get that with a doctor. With all of this extra attention I should live to a grand old age.”

    The Leicester Diabetes Centre has run a wide range of research studies that looked at the areas of early detection, prevention, structured education, and new therapies along with teaching and training for both patients and health care professionals. The results of these studies have had an impact on local NHS policies, Department of Health programmes and NICE guidance.

    Roy added:


    “They are all genuinely dedicated people and you can tell they don’t do it because it’s their job, they do it because it’s their passion. I would urge other people with diabetes to help out.”

    The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has transformed research in the NHS in the decade since it was established as the research arm of the NHS in April 2006. Over five million people have taken part in healthcare research over the last decade with 98% of NHS trusts and 41% of GP practices now actively engaged in clinical research.

    Prof David Rowbotham, Clinical Director for CRN: East Midlands, said:


    “Clinical research plays a crucial role in improving NHS interventions and treatments: patients are critical to this. They are NHS heroes, selflessly taking part in vital research whilst often battling distressing conditions.”

    Prof Melanie Davies CBE, Clinical Lead for CRN: East Midlands and co-lead for the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said:


    “Research is vital if we want to continue to strive for improvements in healthcare. It enables us to look at gaps in clinical knowledge and solve these problems by applying new methods, then testing and measuring what really makes a difference, rather than continuing to do things the same way.”

    To find out more about the OK to Ask campaign, visit www.nihr.ac.uk/oktoask

    To find out more about clinical research visit www.crn.nihr.ac.uk/ppie, or sign up to the free online course “Improving healthcare through clinical research” at www.bit.ly/CRN_MOOC

    For further press info, photos or interviews contact:

    Kerry Todkill
    NIHR Clinical Research Network East: Midlands
    Tel:0116 250 2730, 07984 290255
    Email: kerry.todkill@nihr.ac.uk
    Web: www.crn.nihr.ac.uk


    Notes to editors 

    *Figure applies to number of participants in clinical research studies supported by the NIHR, not number of unique people (source: Clinical Research Network figures, February 2016)

    1. About the NIHR Clinical Research Network
    The NIHR Clinical Research Network is part of the National Institute for Health Research. We provide researchers with the practical support they need to make clinical studies happen in the NHS, so that more research takes place across England, and more patients can take part. This practical support includes: reducing the “red-tape” around setting up a study; enhancing NHS resources, by funding the people and facilities needed to carry out research “on the ground”; helping researchers to identify suitable NHS sites, and recruit patients to take part in research studies; advising researchers on how to make their study “work” in the NHS environment.

    2. About the NIHR
    The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has:

    • increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public
    • driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy
    • developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research.

    The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (www.nihr.ac.uk).