An NHS campaign which has enabled over 10,000 people across Greater Manchester to take part in valuable health and care research is calling on others to help make a difference, as the scheme prepares to celebrate its 10th birthday.
Research for the Future was founded in September 2011 with the ambition of helping patients in Greater Manchester get involved in studies to advance NHS care and treatments for diabetes. Since then, the initiative has grown considerably and supported NHS research across multiple disease areas – including COVID-19 and heart, lung and kidney disease.
Ahead of its 10th birthday this weekend on 26 September 2021, Research for the Future expanded to cover all disease areas. All adults living in Greater Manchester and surrounding areas, whether they have a health condition or not, can now register to hear about research opportunities they may wish to take part in.
Over the past decade more than 10,300 people have registered with the campaign to take part in research happening locally, showing tremendous altruism which has helped researchers behind 215 studies seeking to discover new ways to prevent, diagnose and manage illnesses.
Involvement can take many different forms, ranging from taking part in clinical trials for new treatments, to completing questionnaires, to being part of focus groups, and much more.
John Wilkinson, OBE, (pictured) has been registered with Research for the Future since 2017. Mr Wilkinson, who was chairman of rugby Super League club Salford Red Devils for 31 years, was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease in June 2012. He has taken part in research and encouraged others to register with Research for the Future. Mr Wilkinson, chairman and managing director of Salford-based firm Wilkinson Star said:
“Signing up to be part of this database was something that I really wanted to do, because clinical research really is the only way to improve health and care for any disease. By taking part in research, you can help yourself, and you will certainly help many, many people in the future. That is so important. I have no hesitation in saying ‘get signed-up’.”
Sarah Fallon, Chief Operating Officer of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) Greater Manchester, which funds Research for the Future, said:
“Research for the Future has been a resounding success over the past decade and is a campaign unique to Greater Manchester that’s admired around the country. By matching people with studies suited to their health profile, the service has helped thousands gain access to research opportunities they may never have known about. On the flip side, it’s also helped our local research teams recruit suitable participants for important studies to improve health care for everyone. It’s a real win-win service for local citizens, and the NHS and other local care organisations. We’re extremely grateful to everyone who’s registered over the 10 years and if you love your NHS, signing up to Research for the Future is one perfect way you can help.”
Dr Adrian Heald, a Manchester-based Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology and Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester Specialty Lead for Diabetes, has worked very closely with the campaign team, which has won 11 awards nationally and regionally. He said:
“Research for the Future is an excellent initiative which has, and continues to be, extremely useful for helping people to become involved in research into diabetes and other long-term conditions. As we have seen so clearly during the COVID-19 pandemic, new treatments can only be tested with the help of patients, and signing-up to Research for the Future is a very straightforward way that citizens can play a part in transforming care. Without them we could not progress any clinical research and their support really does matter.”
Greater Manchester residents can register to get involved at the Research for the Future website, or simply by texting RESEARCH and your name to 81400.