Safe, effective care through research

Welcome to the research pages of this website.

At East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, we're looking for the safest and most effective ways of caring for patients and treating disease. Our researchers are the same clinical staff who care for patients. They design and carry out clinical research studies, and work with patients, public representatives, and our university and industry partners, to help develop the treatments of the future.

The success of clinical research depends heavily on the willingness of patients to get involved. It's thanks to all the East Lancashire patients who say yes to research, and volunteer to take part in a research study, or to help shape and design research, that we're able to do this.

Choosing research

If you're a patient at the hospital, your care team will check your hospital records and might ask if you'd like to join a research study. Taking part in research is your choice and we hope that the information on this website will help you to decide what is right for you. Your treatment and care will not be affected if you decide not to take part.

For information on research at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, please contact the Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Department.

Research, Development and Innovation
Room 1.86, Ground Floor
Park View Offices 
Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital
Haslingden Road

Tel: 01254 732756
Twitter: @ELHTresearch

Who's who in research

Women and Children's Health Research Team

Reproduction Team (BGH)

01282 803081

Children's research team (RBH):

01254 732643

Multi-disciplinary Research Team

Royal Blackburn:

Acute team: 01254 733008

Chronic team: 01254 735042

Cancer Research Team

Royal Blackburn: 01254 733299

Burnley General: 01282 805245

Pharmacy Clinical Trials Team

Royal Blackburn: 01254 734168

Clinical Research Development 

07977 503545

Many patients choose to take part in research.

In doing so, they may gain access to new treatments. Often, the choice to take part is driven by a desire to help current, or future patients, in a similar situation.

This video explains the important role played by people who take part in research.

Be part of research

The Be Part of Research website explains more about what is involved in taking part in research and the studies taking place in the NHS.

How can I find the research studies available for me?

You can search our list of current studies or visit the Be Part of Research website to find the clinical research studies happening in East Lancashire and across the UK.

Your care team will provide you with information about any studies that might be available for you. They will give you an information leaflet and explain why the study is being done and what it involves for patients. You can ask questions and have time to think about whether to take part.

Can anyone take part?

All research studies have eligibility criteria which define the patients who may (and may not) take part in a study. The eligibility criteria are there to protect patients and make sure that only those who could potentially benefit from taking part in a study are included. For example, women who are pregnant might not be invited to take part in a study of a new medicine, if little is known about the effect of that medicine on an unborn child.

Doctors, together with other members of the research and clinical teams, will consider carefully if a study will be safe and suitable for you. Only if it is, will they invite you to take part.

Is it safe?

All medical treatment carries potential risks or side effects, but patient safety and well-being is a top priority in clinical research. Steps are taken to make sure that any risks associated with clinical research are identified, reduced and managed effectively.

Clinical research studies must be reviewed and approved by the Health Research Authority (HRA). As part of this process, an independent research ethics committee, which includes members of the public, will ensure that the purpose of the study can be justified on ethical grounds, and that the rights and privacy of the patients who take part will be fully protected. The ethics committee looks carefully at the study protocol – a detailed plan of how the research study will be conducted. They will also review the information to be provided to patients, to check that it is clear and accurate.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will also review and provide authorisation for clinical trials involving medicines. The MHRA will inspect these studies to ensure they meet the standards required by the regulations for clinical trials.

The checks on safety do not stop there and you will be closely monitored whilst taking part in a research study.

Do I have to take part?

No. It is entirely your decision and you must take time to consider what is right for you. Your care and treatment will not be affected if you decide that taking part in a research study is not for you.

What will happen if I do decide to take part?

Your doctor or a member of the research or clinical team will talk to you about the study. You'll be given a patient information leaflet which describes why the study is being carried out and what is involved. The research team will be available to discuss the study in more detail and to answer any questions that you may have. Wherever possible, you will be given time to think about whether to take part in the study. If you decide to take part, you will be asked to indicate this in writing by signing a consent form.

What happens next may vary and each study is different. You may need to attend extra clinic visits or have extra tests, take new treatments or different combinations of treatments or you may be asked to answer a questionnaire or to keep a diary at home.

The research team will be able to provide information on what happens in each study, including practical details such as where to collect your medication, whether you’ll need help from friends or family or to take time off work to attend appointments. Please ask them for more information.

Will my health information be treated in confidence?

Regulations govern the use of personal data in healthcare and also in clinical trials. Researchers are aware of these regulations and take steps to ensure that your personal data remains confidential and is accessed in accordance with the regulations.

The arrangements for collecting, sharing and storing information about you will be described in the patient information leaflet for the study and you will need to provide consent – a written agreement – for your information to be used.

The research team will be able to answer any questions you may have about the use of your personal information in a research study.

For further information see the section of our website 'how we use your information'

Will I be paid for taking part?

Healthy volunteers may receive payment for taking part in clinical research but it is not considered ethical for patients to receive payment. However, some studies do offer travel expenses to assist with the cost of attending additional appointments for the purpose of the study.

What if I change my mind?

You have a right to change your mind and withdraw from a research study at any time. You don’t have to give your doctor or the research team a reason why. The research team might ask if you are happy for the data already collected to continue to be used in the study. Again, this is your choice.

The best quality clinical research involves patients and the public, helping researchers to develop and improve their ideas for research. It could be helping to design a research study, helping to write information about a study that is clear and easy for patients to understand, collecting research data, or helping to make decisions about which research studies should receive funding.

Organisations that support patients, the public and researchers to work together

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

The NIHR is funded through the Department of Health and Social Care to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The NIHR website explains how members of the public can get involved in clinical research.


The NIHR funds Involve which supports public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research.

People in Research 

People in Research is an online national database that allows people to search for opportunities for public involvement in research.

Clinical research starts with a question about the cause of disease or how best to provide care or treatment for patients. To gather the evidence to answer these questions, health professionals will carry out a research study.

What does it involve?

All clinical research involves the collection of research data. The data is analysed, reviewed and published in medical journals. It may be the data from a single study or from a number of studies considered together, that will change how care and treatment is provided.

There are different types of clinical research study. Some involve in-depth interviews with patients about their experiences of disease or care. Others may look at new ways to test for the presence of disease. Clinical trials are research studies which look at new treatments to see whether they are safe and work well. They may also look at the use of current treatments when they are used in different ways or in different combinations.

Why is it important?

The NHS knows that research is important. It leads to new treatments for patients, changes the way healthcare is delivered, brings potential benefits for individual patients who take part in research studies and helps to improve the health of the nation overall.

That’s why research is part of the NHS constitution. It’s a commitment to the promotion, conduct and use of research to improve the current and future health and care of the population.

Our researchers are the same health professionals who look after patients at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. They understand the need for the best evidence about new treatments and ways of providing care. Our researchers come from all clinical areas. They contribute to national and international research and design and carry out their own studies. Many are active in local, regional and national research groups.

Academic Surgical and Perioperative Medicine Unit

For information on the Academic Surgical and Perioperative Medicine Unit, please follow this link.

BRIDGES: Blackburn Research Innovation Development Group in General Surgery


For information on the BRIDGES Group please follow this link.

Women and Children's Health Research Team

For information on the Women and Children's Health Research Team, please follow this link.

If you would like further information about the work of our researchers, please contact the Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Department.

Who has access to my personal information for research?

The research team at East Lancashire Hopsitals NHS Trust, is part of the clinical team that care for you. They complete regular training on information governance and access and use the personal data of patients in accordance with all applicable guidance and regulations.

How is my personal information used in health research?

The research team may review your hospital records to see if you can take part in research. 

If you decide to take part in a research study, and agree this by completing and signing a research consent form, information about you will be collected, stored securely and shared with the research sponsor.

The sponsor is the organisation which takes overall responsibility for the research. The sponsor could be an NHS Trust, a university or a pharmaceutical company.

What information is collected and how long it is stored for will vary from study to study. The details are outlined in an information leaflet which is given to every patient who is invited to take part in the research.

A research ethics committee will review the patient information leaflet and the details about how patient information will be collected, stored and used, during and after the research has been completed. This ensures that the collection and use of personal information for the purpose of the research study is necessary, ethical and legal.

How can I find out more?

When you are invited to take part in a research study you will be given a patient information leaflet. This gives information on what personal information will be collected and how it will be used during and after the study takes place.

If you have any questions, you can find out more by asking the research team or your doctor.

You can also direct questions to the Research, Development and Innovation Department or the Trust Data Protection Officer.

The Trust has a privacy notice for service users which explains how your personal information may be used.

For further information about how personal information may be used in health research, please visit the Health Research Authority website.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) asks NHS Trusts to publish performance data for their research studies. The data for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is published in the table below. 

For more information about NHS research performance, please visit the NIHR website.

Initiating clinical research

How long it takes to set up research studies within our hospitals and for patients to begin to take part in those studies.

Delivering clinical research

Whether the agreed number of patients enter our research studies in the time expected.

2022-23 2022-23

Data for quarter 1, 2022 - 23

Data for quarter 2, 2022 - 23


Data for quarter 1, 2022 - 23

Data for quarter 2, 2022 - 23 - No changes reported in this quarter

2021-22 2021-22

Data for quarter 2, 2021-22

Data for quarter 3, 2021-22

Data for quarter 4, 2021-22



Data for quarter 2, 2021-22 - No changes reported in this quarter

Data for quarter 3, 2021-22

Data for quarter 4, 2021 -22 - No changes reported in this quarter



The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network supports a portfolio of clinical research studies. For any study that is eligible or applying for Network support, dedicated advisors can help with study feasibility, regulatory approvals, site identification, costings, and set up and delivery to time and target.

Click here for more information on study support

Can you spare 15 minutes to improve our understanding of the impact of coronavirus on our mental health and wellbeing?


Researchers are inviting people over the age of 16 years to complete an online questionnaire and help improve our understanding of how coronavirus and the lockdown may affect mental health and wellbeing. The project is led by NHS colleagues at Southern Health. Taking part is completely voluntary and the project has full Health Research Authority approval. You can complete the survey online. Please select East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust when completing the survey

Sign up to Help BEAT Coronavirus

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The NHS campaign, ‘Help BEAT Coronavirus’, has launched in Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and East Lancashire. 

More than 52,000 people across the region have taken part in coronavirus research since the pandemic began. This fantastic public response has helped to identify effective vaccines, treatments and tests, which are already saving lives. 

‘Help BEAT Coronavirus’ is encouraging more people to support research into the evolving threat of coronavirus.
The easiest way to get involved is to register your interest online via the Research for the Future website.

Anyone can register - regardless of health background or whether or not you’ve had COVID. By registering, you will be contacted about research happening locally - with no obligation to get involved. 

Professor Andy Ustianowski, the National Clinical Lead for the UK’s NIHR COVID Vaccine Research Programme said: 

“The success of the COVID-19 vaccine in the UK is down to research and every person who has volunteered for trials. By signing up to Help BEAT Coronavirus, you are helping to discover new ways to prevent, diagnose and manage COVID-19.”

Be Part of Research

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The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is encouraging healthcare staff, patients and the public to find out more about health research and consider taking part in a research study.

The Be Part of Research website is designed to make this easier. It highlights the benefits of health research and includes a database of research studies which are happening across the UK, which can be searched by location or health condition.

Find out how you can be part of research:

International Nurse’s Day: Highlighting the diversity of nurse’s involvement in research

We’re celebrating International Nurse’s Day and thanking all nurses providing safe, personal, effective care for East Lancashire patients.

We’re also recognising the work of nurses involved in health research, their tremendous effort to maintain research activity during the last year, and the impact that’s had on improving the care and treatment for patients at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) and the wider NHS. 

Nurses are involved in a diverse range of research activities and a dedicated team of research nurses support over 90 health research studies across the hopsitals, helping East Lancashire patients with a wide range of health conditions to take part in research. 

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Clinical Research Nurse, Jill Fitchett trained at Blackburn in 1994 and, since qualifying, worked in critical care in Manchester and surrounding areas. She is now responsible for the surgical and anaesthetic research studies taking place within the Trust and a member of the BRIDGES research group which showcases original research, surgical innovation and promotes surgical education at ELHT. Jill explained why she chose to become a Clinical Research Nurse:

“I started research nursing in 2011 because it enabled me to effect change and influence quality improvement, but maintain my clinical skills. I genuinely believe that giving patients the option to be involved in research confirms to them that not only are we their clinicians but that we are also committed to advancing knowledge and improving care.”

ELHT nurses are involved in developing nurse-led research and have contributed to internationally-recognised reviews of the research evidence to improve the delivery of healthcare.

Advanced Clinical Practitioner, Sally Turner co-authored a Cochrane Review on asthma care; the result of a collaboration between East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and researchers at the University of Oxford. Cochrane Reviews are internationally-recognised, systematic reviews of research to provide high-quality evidence to inform healthcare and decision making. 

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Sally described what it was like to be involved in the review:

“This is the first time I’ve been involved in a Cochrane review and although I really enjoy direct clinical care, I found helping with the review incredibly rewarding in a different way; I feel that we as a team have been able to help effect real evidence based change in asthma care.”

East Lancashire collaboration on Cochrane review of asthma care published on World Asthma Day

A Cochrane review of asthma care has been published, coinciding with World Asthma Day. The review titled “Combination fixed-dose beta agonist and steroid inhaler as required for adults or children with mild asthma" was the result of a collaboration between researchers at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) and the University of Oxford.

Iain Crossingham, ELHT Respiratory Consultant and Intensivist and Sally Turner, ELHT Asthma Advanced Nurse Practitioner and a first time Cochrane reviewer were authors of the report.

Iain highlighted the significance of the review findings:

“The review demonstrates that a relatively new approach to mild asthma – as required combination inhalers – is superior to the old "blue inhaler as needed" approach still used in many places. It is also as effective as "step 2" asthma treatment whilst reducing patients' exposure to inhaled steroid.

To view the review visit the Cochrane Library.

Research midwives celebrate International Day of the Midwife

Research midwives are celebrating International Day of the Midwife and the contribution that health research makes to midwifery care and the health of expectant mothers and their infants.

Louise Hoole has been a midwife at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) for 13 years and joined the Reproductive Health and Children’s Research Team 18 months ago.

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Louise explains that the best part of her job is spending time with women and giving them the opportunity to take part in research:

“I love the thought that by just doing my job, I am helping to shape the future of maternity care.”

Frances Pickering has worked as a midwife at East Lancashire Hospitals since 2012, mainly specialising as a nurse within the Neonatal Unit. In December 2019, Frances became a Research Midwife, undertaking a wide range of research projects in gynaecology, fertility, obstetric and neonatal care.  

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Frances has enjoyed the opportunity to learn new skills:

“I was drawn to the research role in search of a “challenge”. This role has given me the opportunity to move into a new speciality whilst maintaining my clinical skills and developing new ones. “

Helen Smith qualified as a midwife in 2009 and joined the Research Team on 1st March this year. Helen enjoys working collaboratively with the team, developing the knowledge and skills required of a research midwife.

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“I have always been passionate about midwifery and making a difference through improving care for women. Currently, I’m working on a study evaluating the specialist antenatal service of the Rainbow Clinic, looking to improve the care of parents who have experienced a stillbirth or neonatal death.”

Our latest news

View the latest news for the Education, Research and Innovation (DERI) Directorate.

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One million people take part in COVID-19 research


Just a year after the World Health Organisation declared the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) recognised another important milestone. Over one million people from across the UK, have taken part in NIHR-supported urgent public health research into COVID-19.

Research and clinical teams at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) have been supporting COVID-19 research since the start of the outbreak.

Wendy Goddard, Senior Research Nurse said:

“Our first COVID-19 research study was ISARIC4C, a study which employs rapid data gathering and near real-time analysis. The study had already been set-up in readiness for infectious disease outbreaks so we quickly re-activated it for COVID-19. Data for over 3000 ELHT patients has been included in the study. My team are working tirelessly to manage this huge task but the data is vitally important.”

ISARIC4C reported the clinical features of UK hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 and independent risk factors which included increasing age, male sex, and chronic comorbidity, including obesity. Other published data includes genetic mechanisms of severe COVID-19 infection and the impact on children.

Dr Srikanth Chukkambotla, Consultant Anaesthetist, Clinical Director for Research and Innovation and Principal Investigator for a number of COVID-19 research studies at ELHT said:

“I’m working on the Critical Care Unit and have seen the urgent need for new treatments for our patients with COVID-19. We’re supporting a number of treatment studies at ELHT. The RECOVERY trial has found benefits for dexamethasone in patients who are ventilated or receiving oxygen therapy and the latest results from the REMAP-CAP trial showed that tocilizumab and sarilumab, usually prescribed to patients with rheumatoid arthritis, have a significant impact on survival for patients with COVID-19, and can reduce the time spent in Intensive Care by up to 10 days.”

The rollout of these treatments could make a significant contribution to reducing pressures on hospitals. Both the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP trials have been given the highest priority urgent public health status. 

Dr Chukkambotla thanked East Lancashire patients who’ve taken part in the research:

“We are extremely grateful to the East Lancashire patients and their families who’ve supported COVID-19 research. We can see it is already changing clinical practice and many patients will benefit from their contribution.”

For information on the COVID-19 research taking place at ELHT, please visit our website, or follow us on twitter @ELHTresearch #ResearchVsCovid. To find out more about COVID-19 research taking place in the UK, and how to volunteer to take part, visit BePartofResearch.

National Institute for Health Research launches ‘Your Path In Research’ campaign

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The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has launched a new publicity campaign ‘Your Path In Research’. It encourages healthcare professionals to learn more about the research taking place around them, and to take their first or next steps on the path to their research career.

The campaign shows four easy ways to take a first step in research:

  1. Sign up to NIHR signals
  2. Find out what research is happening at your Trust and how you can get involved
  3. Make patients aware they can take part in a research study
  4. Tell the NIHR where research is needed by suggesting a research question

The campaign is backed by a website which showcases the research journeys of NHS staff, and highlights the opportunities available to develop a research career.