What connects Clinical Research Practitioners and Healthcare Scientists?
“The answer is simple – our passion for research!
Clinical Research Practitioners (CRPs) are a part of a research delivery workforce. They look for participants willing to take part in research studies. They explain the studies to potential participants, take consent from them and collect data and samples as required by a study protocol. The biological samples CRPs collect could be anything from blood, urine, swabs and tissues to organs. Healthcare Scientists are largely involved in the analysis of research samples. They also play an essential part in the collection of certain samples or research data.
Ben Johnson, Clinical Research Practitioner, has worked closely with Healthcare Scientists over several years in the Histopathology Department.
‘’Almost every day we bring tissue samples directly from Thoracic Theatres to pathology, for Healthcare Scientists to provide their time and expertise to give our research team some of the tissue from the specimen. We need to receive some of the background tissue as well as some of the tumour ‘fresh’ for our research, in double-quick time. These colleagues not only help with the procurement of tissue but also provide a fantastic service for creating Tissue Micro Arrays, more slides, including using new Digital Pathology techniques to scan slides for automated cell scoring and counting.
We could not undertake the great research we are involved in without the close cooperation of many Healthcare Scientists’’.
Deborah Lakeland, Cancer Genomics Project Manager summarises the relationship between Healthcare Scientists and Clinical Research Practitioners:
“The safety and effectiveness of clinical interventions are defined by healthcare researchers, and delivery directly impacts future population care. Clinical management improvements are reliant on the practice of diverse multi-skilled teams, and Clinical Research Practitioners’ competencies are complimentary, to the practice of collaborating laboratory clinical and technical scientists, operating in medical innovations and care transformations. Such programmes include the 100,000 Genomes Project, that now sees whole genome sequencing employed as a standard of care test, in routine rare disease, pathogen and cancer pathways. I am very pleased to learn that the Academy for Healthcare Science has established a Directory and an accredited Clinical Research Practitioner Register, which recognises their critical contribution to healthcare research, and raises their professional profile in the NHS scientific community.“
Healthcare Scientists in more advanced roles design their own research or take on the role of Principal Investigator and lead on national or international multicentre studies locally. An example of such a trial is an urgent public health study SIREN investigating the impact of detectable anti SARS-COV2 antibody on the incidence of COVID-19 in healthcare workers. Consultant Clinical Scientists were amongst those who took lead on the delivery of the SIREN study locally. As Principal Investigators they delegated the tasks of recruiting participants, consenting and collecting of data, blood and nasal swabs to Research Nurses and Clinical Research Practitioners. In the first year, Siren has carried out 519,465 PCR tests and 249,402 blood tests. These tests were conducted in laboratories in a timely manner by dedicated Healthcare Scientists. The Siren study recruited 44,549 participants across 135 sites. The results from the study produced invaluable insights into the post-infection and post-vaccination immunity to COVID 19. Whereas the SIREN study has been supported by staff from many different specialities, effective collaboration between Healthcare Scientists and Clinical Research Practitioners contributed to its overall success”
Maya Leach, Clinical Research Practitioner
Ben Johnson, Clinical Trials Coordinator (CRP)
Deborah Lakeland, Cancer Genomics Project Manager, Healthcare Scientist