Reconstructive surgery trial network
Clinical trials are the foundation for evidence-based medicine. Currently, less than 2% of government funding for medical research goes into surgical areas, despite the fact that a third of hospital admissions involve surgery. In 2012 the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) launched a clinical trials initiative to increase the quantity and quality of clinical surgical research.
Since then, the proportion of National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) funding allocated to hand surgery has been rising. In the six years after 2013, NIHR funding for hand surgery research totalled £12.4 million of the £2.5 billion awarded overall.
The BSSH, along with the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), supported the clinical trials initiative by appointing a Surgical Specialty Lead. The surgical specialty lead works with the six UK Surgical Trials Centres to develop clinical networks, train surgical investigators and deliver the clinical trials in a timely fashion.
Along with the Surgical Specialty Lead, the creation of the Reconstructive Surgery Trials Network (RSTN) in 2013 has enabled access to methodological support from the Surgical Trials Centres and established the infrastructure to deliver high quality, multicentre studies. The RSTN has also provided a platform for surgical trainees to get involved in research, based on a collaborative model.
- Visit the RSTN website to find out about current trials or suggest one yourself.
- Sign-up to the RSTN newsletter to stay in touch and get the latest trials news.
- The BSSH has also funded a Clinical Professor of Hand Surgery at the University of Nottingham, who set up the Centre for Evidence Based Hand Surgery and Hand Fracture Research Group.
- In 2017 the BSSH funded James Lind Alliance (JLA) Priority Setting Partnership on hand and wrist conditions published their top 10 research priorities.
Find out more about BSSH involvement with RSTN here
The BSSH Research Committee meets twice a year and aims to advance and facilitate research amongst the membership of the BSSH.
Working in Partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
The BSSH is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) non-commercial Partner. This means the studies that we fund may be eligible to access the NIHR Study Support Service which is provided by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The NIHR Clinical Research Network can now support health and social care research taking place in non-NHS settings, such as studies running in care homes or hospices, or public health research taking place in schools and other community settings. Read the full policy: Eligibility Criteria for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support.
In partnership with your local R&D office, we encourage you to involve your local NIHR Clinical Research Network team in discussions as early as possible when planning your study. This will enable you to fully benefit from the support available through the NIHR Study Support Service. To find out more, please visit: www.nihr.ac.uk/study-support-service
If your study involves NHS sites in England you will need to apply for Health Research Authority Approval. For guidance on submitting an application please visit: www.hra.nhs.uk.