Putting research on a pedestal

Over the past 12 months we’ve seen colleagues and teams across the trust adapt their ways of working in response to the pandemic. One of those teams is our clinical research team, who continued to offer patients and colleagues the choice of new tests and treatments, while also overcoming the challenges of working in new environments.

The team was awarded November’s Somerset Star following a nomination by consultant Justin Pepperell, who wanted to highlight the important role played by research teams. From cancer and mental health, to diabetes and more recently, COVID-19, the team helps patients from a range of services to find new treatments that could benefit their care.

With the pandemic came a whole new research task in understanding COVID-19. The team worked flexibly so that active research trials could continue, ensuring patients were still able to take part in tests and treatments to aid their care while also recruiting to COVID-19 trials. These trials looked at not only treating COVID-19 positive patients, but also how we could prevent the spread of the virus. Our research team is one of the highest performing recruiters to COVID-19 research trials such as the SIREN study and RECOVERY.

On receiving the Somerset Star award, our lead research nurse Andrea Mostyn-Jones said: “The team has been incredibly adaptable during this time, and I’m really proud of them. The clinical nature of research means they’ve experienced all the same fears as all our other colleagues in response to this pandemic, yet they’ve risen above this to achieve some incredible results – which will benefit both our patients and our colleagues. Receiving a Somerset Star highlights the value of research, and we were over the moon to be nominated.”

Justin added: “The team has really shone over the last year, receiving excellent reviews from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and becoming one of the highest recruiters to a number of different trials. Research is integral to the ongoing development of health care, and we are lucky to have such excellent colleagues dedicated to providing the best care to our patients.”

The trust awards a Somerset Star to a nominated team or individual each month, for demonstrating our trust values of Outstanding Care, Listening and Leading, and Working Together.