Enquiries: 01305 251150

21 May 2021

Staff at Dorset County Hospital (DCH) have been recognised for their research efforts during the pandemic, at a virtual ceremony hosted by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) Wessex on 13 May 2021.

DCH research staff picked up two awards for Outstanding Contribution to COVID-19 Research, acknowledging the Trust’s contribution to nationally prioritised research into coronavirus.

The awards went to Lead Research Nurse Sarah Williams for her exceptional leadership of COVID-19 research studies, and to the team supporting the RECOVERY trial, which investigates different treatments for patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

Upon receiving her award, Sarah Williams said: “It is a privilege to be recognised with this award and to work with such an incredible research team. It’s been a challenging year for us all, but we are committed to providing the best possible care for our patients and part of this involves participation in research.

“Throughout the pandemic, everyone has gone above and beyond to support COVID-19 research studies, working flexibly and taking on additional hours. It’s been a real team effort.”

James Rees, Senior Research Paramedic from the DCH RECOVERY trial team, said: “We are honoured to receive this award. Throughout the pandemic, we have worked hard to offer our patients the opportunity to be involved in research studies like the RECOVERY trial, as it means we can provide something on top of standard treatment for COVID-19.

“Although it’s not been straightforward as a lot of our patients have been very unwell, lots of our patients have been keen to get involved in research to help advance our understanding of the disease.”

The RECOVERY trial, supported and partly-funded by the NIHR, identified the steroid dexamethasone as the first drug to improve survival rates in hospitalised COVID-19 patients with respiratory complications.

DCH has received praise from the NIHR for recruiting one of the highest proportions of patients admitted with COVID-19 into the trial, enabling as many people as possible to have the opportunity to take part in this vital research.

Dr Zoë Sheppard, Head of Research at DCH, added: “We feel incredibly proud to have been part of something so important and it’s been great to see the value of research recognised so widely. When things return to normal, we hope to build on this momentum and harness the interest in research and take it forward beyond COVID-19.”

The annual NIHR CRN Wessex award ceremony provides an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work of research teams in the Wessex region, which covers Dorset, Hampshire, South Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.

The award ceremony, which was originally due to be held at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton in November 2020, took place via Zoom, with over 100 virtual attendees.

The awards were held just ahead of International Clinical Trials Day on 20 May, which marks the anniversary of the first ever clinical trial by James Lind in 1747, who investigated the causes of scurvy on board HMS Salisbury.

A full list of award winners can be viewed at: local.nihr.ac.uk/news/wessex-teams-awarded-for-outstanding-contributions-to-covid-19-research/27679

Find out more about the RECOVERY trial by visiting www.recoverytrial.net