Congratulations to the eight Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust (GSTT) staff and volunteers shortlisted for the first ever South London Clinical Research Awards, run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network South London.

The Awards recognise outstanding contributions to clinical research, from innovations that will help drive research for the benefit of patients in the future, to ensuring that people taking part in clinical trials are put first.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network South London drives and supports high-quality clinical research taking place in the NHS in South London, so that patients can benefit from new and improved treatments.

The Network asked staff across South London to nominate individuals or teams they thought had gone the extra mile across five categories:

  • Rising star for the best or most improved research nurse/practitioner or clinical research support worker.
  • Significant contribution to activities supporting research for an individual or a team who have significantly developed the portfolio and contributed to research delivery through any supporting activities.
  • Innovation for an individual or a team where there has been development of a specific innovation that has led to an improvement in research delivery.
  • Time and target for an individual or a team who have demonstrated in the past 12 months approaches that have improved recruitment to time and target for NIHR portfolio studies.
  • Put patients and carers first for an individual who has gone the extra mile for a patient or carer during a research visit.

The awards attracted over 50 nominations across the board, and were then assessed by three independent judges – a patient representative, and senior leaders from the NIHR.

Nzinga Gardner, a member of the Patient and Public involvement Advisory Group (PPIAG) at BRC at GSTT, was shortlisted for her work advising researchers on studies and for sharing her experiences with other patients. She said:

“I came to recognise that people before me taking part in research was why I had benefitted so much in my care. That makes you want to continue the cycle of good.”

Commenting on her nomination for the Putting patients and carers first category, Anna Stanton, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Clinical Research Nurse at GSTT, said she was passionate about the clinical research that the IBD team conduct.

“We not only help patients now but also contribute to further understanding of the disease and medicines to hopefully achieve the goal of personalised medicine in future.”

In total eight Guy’s and St Thomas’ staff and volunteers were shortlisted across the five categories:

Rising Star

    • Gill Arbane, Research Service Delivery Manager, for the way she has given strong direction and built research capacity.
    • Megan Smith, Clinical Trials Practitioner, for her total commitment to her patients.

Significant contribution to activities supporting research

    • Robert Pleass, PPIE Lead for the CRN South London, for the way he’s encouraged patients to become research ambassadors.
    • Anita Soma, Highly Specialist Oncology Pharmacist for Clinical Trials, for her work ensuring clinical trial participants have access to the treatments they need.
    • Nzinga Gardner, a member of the BRC PPIAG, for her work advising researchers on studies and for sharing her experiences with other patients.

Innovation

    • BRC PPIAG, a PPI group for the Biomedical Research Centre for helping to transform the perception of PPI at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London.

Putting patients and carers first

  • Anna Stanton, IBD Clinical Research Nurse, for her knowledge and experience with patients, and the way she shares this with colleagues.
  • Liz White, Research Assistant in Huntington’s and Parkinson’s clinics, for her ‘can do’ attitude and work to meet the needs of patients taking part in trials.

Gill Arbane said she was ‘surprised and honoured’ to be shortlisted.

“To be able to have an impact, however small, on someone’s care is a privilege.”

The winners of the awards will be announced at an awards ceremony on 2 February 2018 as part of the Annual Research Meeting of the NIHR Clinical Research Network South London.