Encouraging patients and families to ask their doctor or nurse about clinical trials is the focus of a new campaign launched today by Birmingham Children’s Hospital, as part of International Clinical Trials Day.
Clinical trials are vital to improving drugs, reduce side effects of drugs and ultimately improve care and the health of patients.
To launch the campaign, a 14ft tall piece of wall art along the hospital’s main corridor was officially unveiled this morning.
Detailing trees and clouds, the huge poster which spells out ‘RESEARCH’ in large red letters, is a joint collaboration between the hospital, Medicines for Children Research Network and the Wellcome Clinical Research Facility.
Already attracting a lot of interest, the wall art – which has been designed by patients – aims to encourage children and their families to ask their doctor or nurse about research.
The theme for International Clinical Trials day 2013 is ‘It’s OK to ask’, which aims to give patients or parents the confidence and information they need to raise the subject of clinical research themselves if they wish to do so, without having to rely on the first approach coming from their doctor. It also encourages clinicians who work in the NHS to think positively about patient-led approaches on clinical research and to consider how they can respond to patients who take a proactive interest.
14 year old Ali Zaidi has been part of a clinical trial at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for the last five years. Ali, from Whitmore Reans in Wolverhampton, has Morquio Syndrome. This is a rare inherited metabolic disorder which causes an abnormal storage of large and complex sugar molecules within the cells of the body. This leads to an abnormal function of several systems in the body and predominantly affects the skeletal system. People with morquio syndrome have a severely short stature, abnormal bone structure, progressive breathing difficulties and reduced mobility.
Ali who has been trialling a new enzyme replacement drug since 2009, said:
“I would definitely encourage other patients or parents to ask their child’s doctor or nurse about being part of a clinical trial. I can already feel the difference and the improvements that are happening within me.”
Director of Research and Development Bruce Morland said: “Clinical Research is about bringing new things forward and doing old things even better, so that we can continue to improve patient treatments at this hospital and across the NHS.
“International Clinical Trials day is not only about empowering patients and parents to ask their doctor about participating in clinical research, but also about letting families know about the research we do and how well we do it.
“We have met so many parents today who were really keen to know more about the types of clinical trials we have here, as well as those that might be applicable to their child.
Other activities today included the research team promoting trials in the busy outpatients department and talking to parents about the ways in which their children can be involved with clinical trials.
There are currently 200 active clinical trials at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and over the last year, almost 2,000 more children and young people have been entered into clinical trials with even more forecast over the next 12 months.
If you are a patient or a parent of a patient at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and you would like to know more about research and being involved with clinical trials please ask your hospital doctor or email firstname.lastname@example.org