New clinical research facility at Halton Hospital site opens

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Halton is now home to a new, dedicated facility for clinical research and trials as part of an exciting alliance with regional research partners. 

Halton Clinical Research Unit (HCRU), within the Nightingale Building on the Halton site at Runcorn, will provide opportunities for people in Halton, Warrington, Cheshire and Merseyside to participate in clinical trials and research close to home.

Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals (WHH) has been working with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Clinical Research Network North West and Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) to further develop its research and investigation capability.

The unit was officially opened on Thursday 4th March by WHH Chairman Steve McGuirk along with partners. HCRU will provide flexible accommodation and staff to support different types of clinical research and trials, making them more accessible to local people in Halton, Warrington and surrounding areas. The unit has already received approval for its first clinical trial due to start next month, which is for a new COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

This investment in the Halton Hospital site is a further demonstration WHH’s commitment to the further development of its research and investigation capacity, supported by the WHH Quality Academy’s Research and Development Team.  It provides an exciting opportunity for local people and for WHH staff and is pivotal to supporting continual improvement of services provided by WHH.

The HCRU also benefits from its own waiting area and its location on the Halton Hospital site means there is ample on-site parking for research and trial participants.  

WHH Chief Executive, Professor Simon Constable, said:

“This new research unit at our Halton site is an exciting development and will help us enhance our clinical research capability and give access to clinical trials for local people whilst ensuring we benefit from the expertise of our research partners.  It is a clear demonstration of our commitment to continuous improvements in healthcare throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

“I am delighted that our local populations in Halton and Warrington and our patients will also be among the beneficiaries of the clinical developments and improvements delivered as a result of the clinical research undertaken here.”

Mr Mark Halliwell, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Associate Medical Director for Clinical Effectiveness, added: “The Research and Development department at WHH has been proactive in progressing many of the urgent public health research trials during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The development of a dedicated research facility at Halton Hospital is an exciting progression of our research strategy that will provide opportunities to develop collaborative research regionally and nationally.”

The significant input from the two research partners is part of a longer-term plan for collaboration on research and development in the region.

Steve Warburton, Chief Executive of Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust added: 

“As a leading research organisation in the region, we are delighted to extend our reach by working in partnership with the Warrington and Halton Clinical Research Unit. Attracting investment to the region is a key part of our strategy and the alliance supports our ability to conduct significant clinical trials. Following the success of our participation in the Oxford Trial, we look forward to working with WHH on this new COVID vaccine trial next month.”

Dr Chris Smith, Chief Operating Officer for the Clinical Research Network: North West Coast, commented: 

“This new research facility represents a major opportunity for the people of Halton and Cheshire to take part in research and improve the health of our communities. It means our region can now attract more research investment and this has already started to take shape with the arrival of a new COVID-19 vaccine trial next month. 

“Congratulations to everyone involved in getting us to this point and we look forward to partnership working that delivers better health for local people."

For more information click here.

Halton Clinical Research ribbon cutting.jpg

Ribbon cutting by WHH Chairman Steve McGuirk along with WHH CEO Professor Simon Constable (front left) and partner representatives from LUHFT including Dr Clare Morgan, Director of Strategy (front right) and Professor Enitan Carrol, Clinical Director Clinical Research Network North West Coast (front centre).
Also pictured are Dr Marcin Bula, LUHFT Prinicipal Investigator, Jules West, Director Research and Development for LUHFT and Dr Chris Smith Chief Operating Officer, Clinical Research Network North West Coast.