Dr Peter Saunders recognised for outstanding contribution to research

21 September 2018

A Trust clinician has been recognised for his contribution to research in awards announced earlier this month.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and Clinical Research Network research awards scheme recognises outstanding contributions of NHS clinicians to the conduct of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network Portfolio research studies. 

There are five awards each for consultants and trainees worth £500, with the prize money going towards increasing their contribution to NIHR Portfolio studies in the future. 

Dr Peter Saunders, clinical research fellow in interstitial lung diseases (ILD) at the Trust, was one of the winners of the trainee category. 

Dr Saunders won for his dedication to increasing the opportunities for patients in his unit to take part in research.

“I am currently finishing my training in respiratory medicine. My plan is to have an NHS career in which the running and designing of clinical trials forms a significant portion of my work. This aligns with my view that clinical trials should be seen as a standard of care and should be offered to the majority of patients.”  

Dr Saunders helped increase the number of patients taking part in research by raising awareness of research among his colleagues, building closer ties with other hospitals who may have suitable trial candidates.

“I am also available to see patients in clinic and on the wards at the time of their visit when trial entry is being considered. This has increased recruitment to trials because patients are able to directly speak to someone who knows the trial well at a time they are already at the hospital, saving on a repeat visit.”

One of the studies Dr Saunders' team is most particularly proud of is RECITAL, a study which is comparing the effectiveness of two different immunosuppressant therapies used to help suppress inflammation and minimise lung scarring in patients with connective tissue disease associated interstitial lung disease (CTD-ILD).

"One of our greatest challenges is to better understand how to use the therapies we have in a more targeted way to ensure only those who will benefit receive them. My experience so far makes me keen to design and implement studies that address these questions."

As part of the application process the applicants had to set out how they would use the prize money to increase their contribution to NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies in the future. Dr Saunders says he plans to put the prize money towards further training in the design of clinical trials and statistical planning.

If you would like to find out about any of the studies mentioned in this story please email: research-findoutmore@rbht.nhs.uk