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Research is the foundation for effective care and treatments. It provides the evidence base to make informed decisions about the benefits and costs of new and existing healthcare interventions, service and policy.
There is good evidence to show that people who are treated in a 'research active' environment have better health outcomes than others. Research plays a key role in improving our nation's health and our national wealth (Best Research for Best Health: A new National Health Research Strategy).
The Trust supports high quality medical and therapeutic research, seeing a growth in the number of projects.
In recognition of the high quality research undertaken here, the Trust receives ongoing NHS Research and Development support funding from the government and Peninsula Cancer Network funding.
Investing in research means investing in the future. The Trust is fully committed to this ethos, supporting a new purpose-built Centre for Innovation, Education and Research on the Torbay site, which is a significant investment in 'fit for purpose facilities' to enable the Trust to participate in, conduct and deliver high quality research to benefit the South Devon community.
The Trust has built up an excellent reputation and track record recruiting patients into national and international clinical trials, continuing to surpass national targets and helping the Peninsula Cancer Research Network to maintain its position as one of the best recruiting networks (population adjusted) in the country.
This has been pivotal in helping the Peninsula to become one of only two places in the country to successfully secure funding, as part of implementation of the UK wide Clinical Research Network, to host and manage all the new topic specific research networks in Diabetes, Medicines for Children, Stroke, Dementias & Neurodegenerative Diseases, Mental Health and primary care.
South Devon is part of the South West Peninsula Comprehensive Local Research Network. The network is developing new research themes in addition to the existing ones covering Cancer, Neurodegenerative Disease, Diabetes, Stroke, Mental Health and Medicines for Children. Future networks may include Cardiovascular Health and Locomotor Disease and may provide opportunities for Torbay Hospital researchers to promote their research expertise through trials in Gastroenterology, Perioperative care and Procedural Skills Evaluation.
The challenge is to develop multidisciplinary teams to capitalise on locally funded pilot studies from, for example, the Torbay Medical Research Fund. Torbay Hospital is, however, well prepared to contribute via our new Clinical Trials Support Unit. Our aim is to increase collaboration with colleagues in primary care, the Peninsula Medical School, skills development and education, plus the Trust's Centre for Innovation and Training (CITEC) as well as commercial sponsors.
We will establish the new Clinical Trials Support Unit in the new £5 million Centre for Education, Innovation and Research to provide twenty four stations for nurses supporting research in the new Networks and for post-graduate students.
A team of clinicians from Torbay (in diabetes, cardiology, urology, audiology and ophthalmology), working with national and international organisations, has become a leading authority worldwide for Alström Syndrome and is starting to understand the relationships between metabolic, genotypic and cardiological changes in this rare genetic condition.
Our Cancer Unit has participated in over a large number of MRC/Cancer Research UK or equivalent national and international multi-centre clinical trials. The increasing research activity reflects the National Cancer Plan, the Trust's role in the establishment of the Peninsula Cancer Research Network, an increase in research staff and the establishment of the Torbay Cancer Trials Unit.
The Department continues to participate in numerous national and international multi-centre clinical trials to answer important clinical questions, particularly looking at thrombolysis for acute MI, coronary artery disease and heart failure. The Trust has led an important study looking at pre-hospital thrombolysis in acute MI patients, which has informed national guidance and a directive on paramedic initiation of thrombolysis.
The team has been updating its Cochrane reviews on dual diagnosis (mental illness & substance misuse). Other studies include the Autism: Asphergers Spectrum disorders, resulting in the development of a specialist diagnostic assessment package currently in use in child and family guidance settings. Patient and carer experiences in ICU have also been studied, resulting in changes in care delivery within the Trust's Critical Care Unit. The research on intensive care syndrome attracted national interest.
The team continues to contribute to national multi-centre trials as well as conducting local studies looking into best treatments of new, early and established type 2 diabetes and its associated complications.
Gynaecology research at this Trust, particularly specialising in uro-gynaecological problems such as incontinence, continues to gather momentum. The results of a randomised trial comparing non-suturing/suturing of second degree perineal tears on delivery have informed guidelines for midwives.
The Torbay Healthy Housing Group is a partnership between the Trust, primary care, the community, the local council and the University of Plymouth. It has established itself at the forefront of housing and health research in Europe, investigating the relationship between mental health and physical health and the housing conditions people live in.