Dr Barbara McGowan, a Biomedical Research Centre-supported Consultant Endocrinologist at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, is one of six NHS consultants in the country to win a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network and Royal College of Physicians award for outstanding contribution to research.

Applicants for the award were required to outline their contribution to the leadership of several NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies with a particular focus on:

  • how they demonstrate clinical leadership enabling their organisation to increase its participation in clinical studies
  • how they engaged with patients to inform them of new opportunities to participate in clinical research
  • their contribution to successful delivery of clinical research studies, with a particular emphasis on industry (commercial contract) studies.

Dr McGowan took on the role of research and development lead for the department of diabetes and endocrinology, nutrition and obesity at Guys & St Thomas’s Hospital in 2012. Since then, she has built a strong research team for the department which now consists of a number of dedicated research specialist including a R&D co-ordinator. Dr McGowan’s work has also led to 23 publications, more than 100 abstracts, and she has been invited to present at national and international conferences.

As well recruiting specialist staff, Dr McGowan has installed a research ethos within her department. She commented:

“It is my ambition to achieve a research ethos throughout the NHS and to ensure that everyone recognised the importance of research in their everyday clinical life, not just the research staff but all clinicians and healthcare professionals (HCPs).

“Our success has been achieved by motivating and supporting the staff and changing the ethos of research, ensuring that it is everyone’s responsibility and expectation to take part, not just the research staff. This award is testament to the significant progress our department and the Trust has made to make research part of business as usual.”

Guy’s and St Thomas’ is one of the largest NHS trusts in England with patients from one of the UK’s most diverse and multicultural populations, and is engaged in a wide variety of health research. The Trust is committed to delivering clinical research with the aim of improving care and developing better treatments for their patients. This commitment to research is enhanced by the Trust’s leading role within King’s Health Partners, one of only six academic health science centres in England, and through the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre which leads the way in translational research and innovation.

On the award winners, Royal College of Physicians academic vice president, Professor Margaret Johnson said:

“Founded last year, this award recognises the outstanding contributions of NHS clinicians to the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio. The clinicians who have received this award are all worthy winners and their outstanding contribution to research within the NHS is a credit to our profession. In such tough times for the NHS it is great to see that such passion and dedication can still break through. I look forward to seeing their continued work and their outcomes in the years to come.”

Since its inception in 2006, the NIHR has significantly increased the scale of clinical research in the NHS, particularly through the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The enthusiastic engagement of NHS physicians and trainees is essential for sustaining and building on this success, particularly given the many competing demands on clinician time and resources.

Professor Nick Lemoine, Medical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network said:

“The competition was really intense for this year’s RCP prize winners. It is fantastic to see such commitment to research from both consultants and trainees across the country, leading clinical studies to improve outcomes for patients in the NHS.”

Trainee award winners will be invited to attend the Royal College of Physicians new members ceremony on 14 September 2016. Consultant award winners will be invited to the Harveian Oration on 20 October 2016.