Schoolchildren joined patients and staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ today (Friday 19 May) to celebrate new treatments and improvements in care made possible thanks to health research.
As part of events to mark International Clinical Trials Day, 12 and 13 year olds from The Elmgreen School in Lambeth were invited to take part in a science lesson with a difference. The group were given instruction in basic CPR and lifesaving skills, a demonstration of equipment used to measure lung capacity in asthma research, and a mock clinical trial investigating different types of fizzy drinks.
The session was organised by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Facility at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and the research team at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
Student Ruben Simwogerere enjoyed finding out more about clinical trials. He said: “I was intrigued to find out how basic methods contribute and are used in sophisticated trials designed to discover new treatments.”
Dominic Bergin, Headteacher of The Elmgreen School, said: “Many of our students are planning careers as scientists, nurses or doctors and this day was a fantastic opportunity to meet with the inspirational people that are doing those jobs and changing lives in our community.”
Celebrated all over the world, International Clinical Trials Day recognises the day in 1747 that James Lind, a ship’s surgeon aboard the HMS Salisbury, began his pioneering clinical trial into the causes of scurvy.
In addition to the special science class, a range of interactive activities were held at Guy’s and St Thomas’ including investigating pain tolerance with the ice water challenge, a Jaffa Cake trial and having a ‘practice run’ in an inflatable MRI scanner. Doctors, nurses and scientists were on hand to discuss the research taking place at the Trust and opportunities to get involved.
Professor Charles Wolfe, Director of Research and Development at Guy’s and St Thomas’ said: “International Clinical Trials Day is a fantastic opportunity for us to talk to our patients, staff and community about the groundbreaking research that takes place here.
“We have nearly 500 studies taking place across the hospital, many of which are already improving the way patients are cared for. I hope our events today will encourage even more members of our community to take part in research.”
In 2015/16, around 28,000 patients were involved in research at Guy’s and St Thomas’, which was more than at any other Trust in England over the same period.
The NIHR, the research arm of the NHS, has launched the “I Am Research” campaign to give patients, the public and health and social care research professionals a chance to shout about how fantastic research is. Look out for #iamresearch on social media or visit the NHIR website to find out more.
Patients and members of the public can find out more about getting involved in trials by asking their doctor, visiting Guy’s and St Thomas’ research pages, or by visiting the UK Clinical Trials Gateway, which provides useful information about how research is conducted and provides links to researchers running trials.