NHS funding crisis impacts clinical trials

Ever-decreasing funding levels have presented a difficult challenge for the NHS in recent years, with many of its services struggling and coming under scrutiny; now, new research has uncovered a worrying new trend.

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Cutbacks are everywhere within the NHS; however, the latest area to be targeted is essential clinical trials, which drug companies conduct on new, ground-breaking medicines. The impact of this upon potential progress and innovation regarding the development of new effective treatments for many illnesses is huge.

An article in Research Fortnightly has reported that nurses are being re-assigned duties. Many are no longer involved in drug research; instead, they are making up for an enormous shortage in clinical work on the frontline. This, of course, is having devastating impact on the progression of treatment options and cures for certain diseases, including cancer and heart disease; in addition, a staggering 3,000 nurses left the NHS last year.

The UK has a substantial history of involvement in medical research. Clinical trials measure both the safety and the effectiveness of a new drug. The evidence gained in clinical trials on volunteers is an essential part of the process; without this, the drug company would be unable to gain the green light from regulators.

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Although clinical trials are instigated by drug companies, they work hand in hand with the NHS through the entire process. The NHS often recruits the patients and then monitors their wellbeing and the effectiveness of the treatment. Funding is shared between the drug company, the NHS and charities.

If you are interested in learning more about the how clinical trials in the UK are funded, Cancer Research has some interesting information.

Clinical trials

If you are fit and healthy and interested in participating in paid clinical trials, consider volunteering through an organisation such as http://www.trials4us.co.uk/.

The first thing that springs to mind when we think about helping the advancement of medical science is donating to charities, such as Cancer Research and British Heart Foundation. Financial donations are invaluable to these charities and their ability to run trials, of course, but few of us have ever considered participating in medical trials. Whilst not for everyone, the research would be impossible without willing volunteers and innovative treatments would never make it to production.