New research on diseases that kill

PIC: Research and Development Manager, Michelle Stephens looks at plans for the new unit.
PIC: Research and Development Manager, Michelle Stephens looks at plans for the new unit.
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WORK is set to start on a pioneering new research facility at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital.

The Clinical Research Centre will provide a base for experts to study a range of killer diseases and conditions.

Two years in the planning, health bosses say the centre will improve research facilities and mean better “health outcomes” for patients in the future.

Research and development manager Michelle Stephens said: “This is the first Clinical Research Centre in Lancashire and Cumbria on this scale.

“The hope is to undertake more studies to help the people of the Fylde Coast and beyond and to bring new treatment to them and their families. We want to take on research in new areas which we haven’t been able to do before.”

Recent Department of Health statistics show the Fylde coast has one of the worst mortality rates for patients across the country.

Blackpool’s high levels of deprivation and related health problems have been held up as a factor in the figures.

It is hoped the research facility will help local medical experts come up with fresh treatments and improve patient service.

Work on the centre will start next week and will be completed by the end of February. The refurbishment will begin on the old Ward 9 to convert it into the research centre and will include four treatment rooms and a patient waiting area.

The centre will bring the research team in to one place to investigate such areas as cancer treatment, acute coronary conditions, cirrhosis of the liver, bowel disease and emergency medicine.

Michelle added: “Research makes a huge impact on patient care and outcomes and this centre will enhance this work and hopefully produce outcomes which will influence healthcare in the future for the better.

“We’re really grateful to the trust’s charity Blue Skies Hospitals Fund which is providing the capital element for the build.

“They are giving us £168,000 towards the project which is a fantastic amount of money.

“Research has expanded over the last five years and there has been lots of investment in staff within the trust.

“Last year we recruited 1,917 patients into research studies so it’s really important to us to build on this work. We will also be in the running to work on trials and projects which we couldn’t have done previously which is tremendously exciting.”