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Number of people in Norfolk and Waveney taking part in clinical research via their GP practice more than doubles in a year

The number of people from Norfolk and Waveney taking part in clinical research via their GP practice has more than doubled in the last year, latest figures show.

The NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) research annual report, published this week, covering the period 2019/20 - 2020/21, reveals that local GP practices enrolled more than 8,000 participants (8,093) to National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded and supported clinical research trials in 2020/21.

The previous year (2019/20) saw 2,552 people take part in research, meaning the number of participants helping to find new treatments for patients last year increased by 217%.

This increase comes against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst public health emergency in a hundred years. Despite this, teams in the NHS and social care have worked tirelessly to support the delivery of research, alongside being deployed to front line services to support the fight against COVID-19.  UK research has played a world leading role in the fight against COVID-19, resulting in many life-saving treatments and vaccines in the space of a year. None of this would be possible without our patients and members of the public continuing to support local research throughout the pandemic.

This year’s annual report contains a range of case studies that highlight the scope and richness of the research activity undertaken and includes work undertaken to support the research response to the COVID pandemic.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, a local GP and Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), praised the efforts of patients and GP research staff, saying: “We are so grateful to people in Norfolk and Waveney who take part in research. Without them, research couldn't happen and we wouldn't be able to find the best ways to treat and care for people, something we know has never been more important than over last year.

“As the local CCG, we continue to take pride in fully supporting GP practices across the region to make sure as many people as possible are given the opportunity to take part in research.”

Research in Primary Care in Norfolk and Waveney is historically strong. The Research Team at the CCG supports research across Primary Care in Norfolk and Suffolk and with local NHS community providers.

The team works with researchers to design local studies, and support them to set up studies coming into the region from across the UK, working in partnership with the Clinical Research Network for the East of England (CRN Eastern) and the CRN Eastern funded primary care research delivery team for Norfolk and Waveney, based at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust. 

The NIHR is the nation’s largest funder of clinical research and is the research partner of the NHS, with NIHR CRN staff embedded in NHS organisations across the country. Nationally, the NIHR CRN annual statistics show that 1,390,483 people took part in clinical research in 2020/21, up from 732,176 who took part in 2019/20.



Notes to Editors

2019/20–21 Increases in Eastern participation in NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio research


2019/20 Number of participants

2020/21 Number of participants

Increase in number of participants

Increase in % of participants

All Eastern NHS and social care (total)





All Eastern NHS CCG areas (total)





Norfolk & Waveney CCG area






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