Families helping to improve health

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Research activity is the future of modern medical care. But many people outside the health care community may not realise that we have a long established research programme at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

As a hospital trust we have long recognised how important it is to engage with children from a young age to help them understand it’s a necessity for making medical advances.

It is through research and innovation that we strive to ensure that our children receive the best treatments and have access to the best facilities.

Pioneering work is taking place daily in a range of areas such as bone disease, genetics, radiology, respiratory disease, cancer and blood diseases, and endocrinology.

This is possible thanks to better understanding of how research works, which means more families than ever are willing to play a part in improving the health care for children in the future.

Between 2012 and 2013 the hospital has seen more than 1,000 patients taking part in research studies representing an 18.5 percent increase in the numbers. They participated in 120 studies, representing a 38 percent rise in activity in a year.

A key element in the growth has been the creation of a dedicated facility for research called the Children’s Clinical Research Facility opened at the hospital in 2008 and at that time was the first of its kind in the UK.

We bring together patients, parents, medical staff and researchers, in one place, away from busy clinics and wards, to work in a dedicated area, with all the right equipment in the right place.

The the trust’s respiratory team have led on a national trial looking at medications to treat bronchiolitis in the under ones.

In another study data is being collected on around 35 young people with Juvenile Huntington’s Disease (JHD) across Europe. It is hoped that the study will lead to patients with JHD taking part in trials which could eventually yield a cure.

The Expanded Newborn Screening Study, which started in July 2012, continues to screen newborn babies for five rare metabolic diseases. This screening study helps to identify children with these rare diseases before they become unwell. Three of these conditions may soon be screened for nationally.

The hospital is also working with partner organisations such as The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and businesses to support the development of innovation and technology for children.