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The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust passed an impressive milestone in recruiting their 1,000th patient for the Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY (RECOVERY) Trial yesterday evening – the first of the 176 participating hospital trusts to do so. This means that Leicester’s Hospitals have recruited nearly 1 in 20 of the total 21,000 patients across the UK who have participated in RECOVERY so far.

It is a phenomenal achievement, particularly since the trust with the second highest number has recruited around 500 patients to date. Since Leicester has not experienced higher volumes of patients compared with other hospital trusts, this reflects a clear commitment from frontline clinicians to embed recruitment into clinical care from the outset. This has resulted in a high percentage of eligible patients being recruited to the trial, giving them both the opportunity to contribute to our knowledge on how to manage COVID-19, and access to treatments which may make them better.

Professor Chris Brightling, Principal Investigator for the RECOVERY trial at Leicester’s Hospitals and Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Leicester, said ‘We are honoured to be part of the RECOVERY trial which is, for me, one of the greatest UK medical research collaborative efforts in my lifetime. In Leicester we are proud to have recruited 1,000 patients into this trial, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to try potential treatments against this disease. Our exceptional recruitment is down to integrating COVID-19 research into clinical care, with a dedicated research team working on the wards closely with those delivering care. It has been a massive team effort across all three of our hospital sites.’

Professor Nigel Brunskill, Director of Research and Innovation at Leicester’s Hospitals and a co-investigator for the RECOVERY trial in Leicester, said ‘While every patient admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is one admission too many, we’re pleased that so many of those in our care have taken part in the RECOVERY trial. We have tried hard to integrate our clinical research into our acute clinical areas at Leicester’s Hospitals, so that all patients get the opportunity to take part in research. I would like to thank every patient and family who has given their consent. I’m so proud of our combined research team of hospital, university and NIHR staff who have pulled out all the stops under these challenging circumstances.’

Martin Landray, Co-chief Investigator of the RECOVERY trial and Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, said ‘The RECOVERY trial has recruited over 20,000 participants at unprecedented speed enabling us to deliver much-needed information about four potential treatments. We couldn’t have done this without the commitment of the NHS doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and research staff at hospitals across the whole country.’

‘The achievements at Leicester Hospitals are outstanding; many entire trials fail to recruit more than a few hundred patients. For one place to recruit 1,000 participants is outstanding and a huge credit to the both the frontline NHS and research staff, the local leadership, and the incredible patient community. Thank you.’