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Award shortlisting for ‘unsung heroes’ of research

The Peggy Wood Breast Care Unit, Critical Care Outreach team and the Urology department at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW), have all been shortlisted for awards recognising their outstanding contributions to research.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is the research partner of the NHS, public health and social care. The NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex Research Support Awards recognise people and teams who don’t work directly in research delivery, but provide essential support to research activities, recognising them as ‘unsung heroes’.

The nominees from MTW are:

Urology team

Urology (see main image above: Alison Richards, Lead Urology and Oncology Research Nurse, presenting the certificate to the Urology team) have been incredibly adaptive in supporting the TRANSLATE study, which looked at two different methods of prostate biopsy, and required the assistance of all members of the team. The nurse at the start of the pathway took the time to explain the study to the patients, and the clinical team were described as being “fantastic” at highlighting and referring potential participants to the research team.

The study required the team to use two different biopsy methods, which meant making a large number of adjustments for each patient’s treatment, depending on the patient randomisation. The nomination highlighted that the team have “been welcoming and accommodating” and recognised the Trust’s position as the second-highest recruiter in the country (second only to Oxford, who were running the study), crediting this success to the team’s approach and adaptability.

Peggy Wood Breast Care Unit, Maidstone Hospital


The Peggy Wood Breast Care Unit were nominated for their support of the three Trust-sponsored trials in the Unit, with the surgical consultants and breast care nurses taking the time to refer patients who may be eligible, as well as making patients aware of the trials.

The booking team make sure that the team’s research time is protected, provide invaluable administrative support, make sure the rooms are clean and ready and the ultrasound machines ready to use, and provide support for procedures such as biopsies.

This has led to the establishment of an embedded research clinic each week. The nomination read: “We would like to nominate them for this award to thank everyone for all of their support, as without it we would not have been able to recruit to our trials as successfully as we have done”.

Critical Care Outreach team, Maidstone Hospital

The Critical Care Outreach team have never previously delivered research but have been fully engaged in embedding research into their clinical practice.

They have taken on a challenging study with AIRWAYS-3 as their first ever project, have not missed a potential patient to randomise and always complete the data collection promptly.

Their dedication to this study is demonstrated by them being the top recruiter in the region for this study. The nomination noted that they are “enjoying the research so much that they are asking for another study to add into their daily work!”

Dr Joanne Zamani, Chief Operating Officer for CRN KSS said: “The range and diversity of research projects being run across the region continues to grow, and collaborative working across teams and organisations is vital to that growth. These awards recognise the value of that collaboration.

“It is a chance to recognise the extraordinary efforts being made by teams and individuals whose work is so crucial to research,” she said. “It is also an important opportunity to demonstrate that research is something that everyone working in the health and social care sectors should be engaged in.”

Hazel Everest, the Trust’s Head of Research and Innovation said: “I am delighted that our colleagues have received this important recognition and that once again we have a number of teams from MTW nominated in the Research Support Awards.

“Research benefits all of us: it changes lives, saves lives and improves outcomes. Through high-quality clinical research, which can only happen with the support of a huge community of colleagues across our hospitals, today’s research becomes tomorrow’s treatment.”