The NIHR portfolio, which ordinarily includes research in more than 30 specialities, was immediately streamlined to the single priority of COVID-19.
CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex restructured its services in line with the national approach. Its Study Support Services team was reconfigured, with the delivery team of research nurses deployed into trusts to assist with the UPH COVID-19 research.
The remaining staff were formed into five mini-teams and as studies were approved onto the UPH COVID-19 lists, the teams managed the set-up, roll out and management across the region.
Kate Jones, CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex Chief Operating Officer, said she was proud of how the research community has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have demonstrated that as a region we can step-up and deliver world-leading research rapidly and at scale,” she said.
“The pandemic has also shown the importance of clinical research and the benefits it brings to our local population; this is very important for members of our black, asian and minority ethnic communities who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.”
Thirty-three UPH studies are now being delivered by NHS trusts and GP practices across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Additionally one Research Delivery Manager and a small team was designated for the management of essential non COVID-19 essential research, such as trials where clinical care is research protocol dependent.
As we move on from the initial stages of the pandemic, the system is looking at how we will collectively move on and build out from the aftermath of COVID-19.