Researching better health

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Mayor and Mayoress of Blackpool Coun Sylvia Taylor and Julia Massey, Aidan Kehoe, Ian Johnson, Dr Megan Thomas, and Michelle Stephens at the opening of the new research facility.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Mayor and Mayoress of Blackpool Coun Sylvia Taylor and Julia Massey, Aidan Kehoe, Ian Johnson, Dr Megan Thomas, and Michelle Stephens at the opening of the new research facility.

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A PIONEERING new £300,000 research facility has opened at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The state-of-the-art Clinical Research Centre will provide a base for experts to study new treatments and developments in medicine, which could drastically change – or even help save – the lives of patients in the future.

The centre, which boasts four treatment rooms, clean utility room, seminar rooms, offices and a reception, is based in the old Ward 9.

It brings the research team – previously dotted across the hospital site – into one place to investigate such areas as cancer treatment, acute coronary conditions, cirrhosis of the liver, bowel disease and emergency medicine.

Officially opening the new facility, funded mainly by the Blue Skies Hospital Fund and the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, Dr Jonathan Sheffield – chief executive of the National Institute of Health Research – said he was “very impressed”.

He said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. The aim is to make research available to NHS patients and help provide the opportunity for better treatment for patients in the future.

“This hospital, which only seven or eight years ago did very little, is now recruiting far more patients for research and has also taken its commitment to research to the next stage by providing a dedicated facility.

“It’s a very high quality facility. Treatments change so rapidly and research really makes a difference to improving care for patients.”

Michelle Stephens, research and development manager, said the team hoped to undertake more studies to help the people of the Fylde coast and beyond and bring them new treatments.

She said: “Previously, we had limited space and the research team was spread across the site.

“Now the team has been brought together and we can run clinics five to six days a week, without having to rely on someone else to lend us space.

“As well as being a good working environment, it’s an environment which helps give something back to patients who give us a lot of time, as it’s comfortable, calm and relaxing.”

Research nurse Joyce Jones added: “Research is so important, because today’s research is tomorrow’s cure.

“It’s great we now have dedicated clinic rooms and have all been brought together.”

Aidan Kehoe, chief executive of the hospital trust added: “This is a fantastic chance to build on the research already being carried out, it will allow patients access to some of the latest treatments and ultimately lead to better care for patients.”