MORE than 70 separate medical research trials are currently underway across Wye Valley NHS Trust (WVT).

This week, WVT was confirmed amongst the country’s “cutting edge” for conducting clinical research.

Clinical research is vital to the NHS in providing evidence of “what works” in determining future treatment options.

WVT has a top half place in the latest league table published by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR) the research delivery arm of the NHS.

The table shows the number of studies undertaken by each NHS Trust from April 2013 to March 2014, and the number of patients who volunteered to take part in clinical research.

WVT was amongst the Trusts to increase clinical research studies undertaken over the year.

In the past five years around 1,320 WVT patients have been recruited to take part in research, including trials for new medications.

At any one time, hundreds of patients are taking part in research, from trials for new cancer-busting drugs to assessing new ways of delivering traditional physiotherapy.

At present, the Trust has 70 separate trials underway, each of which is subject to a formal review of safety, financial, and ethical implications.

If a go-ahead is given, studies are subject to regular monitoring and auditing.

Consultants, research nurses and all those working on studies are trained to comply with the laws and governance associated with research. This is not just important for patient safety but also to the success of trials, which depend on accurate data.

NIHRs Emma Rowan said patients due to undergo treatment were “encouraged” to ask about the possibility of taking part in trials.

"There might not be studies for them at this point in time, but we will note their interest for any future studies. They might be offered interventional trials, such as those testing a new treatment, or observational studies, such as studies that based on questionnaire completions.

“Research can last a few months, or, in some cases it can last years as we monitor the long-term effects of a new drug,” she said.