Enquiries: 01305 251150

Research and Innovation

Updated 28 January 2021

Clinical research is crucial to the discovery and development of new drugs, technologies and practices in healthcare in the NHS and, indeed, the world. Clinical research is a key focus within the Trust and we strive to turn research findings into new or improved clinical practice for our patients.

Dorset County Hospital is a district general hospital located in Dorchester and is part of the Wessex Clinical Research Network and Research Active Dorset. The Research Department has been operational since 2001 and has a centralised team of approximately 30 staff and 20 volunteer Patient Research Ambassadors offering flexibility.

We have offered more patients than ever before the chance to participate in research, recruiting a record breaking 1,356 participants to 49 studies – 32 into six commercial contract studies (National Institute for Health Research’ Research Activity League Table, 2017/18).

The department won  the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Wessex Clinical Research Network Awards 2018.​

Research has a huge impact at the Trust. We have recruited patients into a heart failure trial which led to the first new heart failure therapy in twenty years and provided another treatment option for patients. We also recruited to the largest ever prostate cancer treatment trial which has changed the treatment for men with prostate cancer worldwide.

Current urgent public health coronavirus (COVID-19) studies open at DCHFT

The SIREN study: The impact of detectable anti SARS-COV2 antibody on the incidence of coronavirus in healthcare workers and is led by Public Health England. Principal Investigator is Dr Jenny Graves.

The start of SIREN at DCHFT is imminent with an extensive programme to promote the study. Its aim is to determine if prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in health care workers confers future immunity to re-infection.

All staff at DCHFT can enter the study. It will requires consent, provide regular symptom reviews and 2-4 weekly blood samples, throat and nose swabs.

For further information please read the SIREN portal https://snapsurvey.phe.org.uk/siren/ followed by contacting Research and Innovation on 01305 253106 (ex 3016).

The CCP-UK study: Clinical characterisation protocol for severe emerging infections in the UK is led by ISARIC and World Health Organisation. Principal Investigator is Dr Duncan Chambler.

CCP-UK applies to all patients that have received a +ve COVID test and admitted to critical care (high dependency unit or intensive care unit) and mortality in hospital. For this study, patient consent is not required and clinical data is collected retrospectively for specific timepoints.

CCP-UK is the largest UK coronavirus  study in the world with over 75,000 cases collected. Ultimately, this data enables the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to provide scientific evidence supporting the government response to coronavirus.

The RECOVERY Study: Is an interventional platform trial with the aim of testing a number of possible treatments for coronavirus. Dorset County Hospital welcomed its first participant to this study on 27 March 2020. 

To date 48 patients have taken part. Lead by Dr Jonathan Chambers and with the support of other clinicians, the Research team increased to a seven-day service in order to offer the study to as many eligible participants as possible.   

The trial has already found that both hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir-rotinavir are of no clinical benefit.  However, on 16 June 2020, it was reported that low-cost dexamethasone reduces death by up to one third in hospitalised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19

This has changed practice globally. The study remains open at DCHFT, offering standard care, azithromycin, tocilizumab and convalescent plasma as possible treatments. 

The REMAP-CAP study: (Randomized, Embedded, Multifactorial Adaptive Platform trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia) COVID-19

REMAP-CAP is a trial designed by clinicians who cared for patients and conducted research during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and planning began in 2011. REMAP-CAP builds on the combined input of the world’s leading ICU trial networks. The trial was given Urgent Public Health status following the coronavirus outbreak in April 2020 and the Bayesian adaptive platform design has allowed for a pandemic protocol to be the core protocol via an amendment. Dr Mark Pulletz, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, is the Principal Investigator for this trial and is supported by Patricia Williams, Research Nurse, and Sarah Horton, Data Manager, Research and Innovation.

The multifactorial design allows for patients to be randomised into multiple, different combinations of treatment at once. The current treatment arms are: antiviral therapy, Immune Modulate therapy, Immunoglobulin therapy, Therapeutic Anticoagulation, Vitamin C, and Simvastatin. The patient group are seriously ill in-patients on the Intensive Care Unit who meet the inclusion/exclusion criteria. The goal of the trial is to generate evidence that can be applied during the pandemic to reduce mortality or reduce the length of ICU admission in critically ill patients with coronavirus infection.

Completed coronavirus studies

The PRIEST study: Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage.

The Research objective of the trial was to optimise the triage of people using the emergency care system (111 and 999 calls, ambulance conveyance, or hospital emergency department) with suspected respiratory infections during a pandemic and identify the most accurate triage method for predicting severe illness among patients attending the emergency department with suspected respiratory infection.

Dr Tamsin Ribbons was the Principal Investigator for the trial with a total of 51 participants recruited at Dorset County Hospital. Participants were identified in the Emergency Department as well as from Paediatric admissions. The research team would like to thank both Tamsin and her team as well as the Paediatric Doctors and their team for taking part in the trial.

Contact the department

Telephone: 01305 253106

Email: research@dchft.nhs.uk

Address: Research Department, Dorset County Hospital, Williams Avenue, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 2JY, UK​

You can also keep up to date with our latest studies and information via our Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

Research Department Privacy Notice

As a participant or potential participant in a research study taking place at Dorset County Hospital Foundation Trust (DCHFT) we are required to provide you with some basic information about how DCHFT uses data for research purposes.

All research studies carried out in DCHFT are conducted according to the guidelines and specifications of the Health Research Authority (HRA). The HRA is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department of Health. As the leading authority in England its role is to regulate research with a view to protecting the interests of patients and to promote public participation in health and social care research.

You can find out more about research and about the use of patient information in studies on the Health Research Authority (HRA) website.

If you are considering taking part or you are already participating in a research study which is taking place in DCHFT you can find more comprehensive information about the use of personal information in research from the Sponsor of that study. If you don’t know the Sponsor of the study in which you are already a participant or considering being a participant you may ask your local investigator; you are also welcome to contact the Department of Research and Innovation at research@dchft.nhs.uk​.​

Clinical Research Performance Reports

To see the reports on our performance of initiating and in delivering research for the last four quarters, please click here.


​​If anyone has any queries​ about how GDPR affects their data in specific studies they have been involved in at Dorset County Hospital, please email research@dchft.nhs.uk  

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