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Surgical Trials Initiative

The Rosetrees and the RCS Surgical Trials Initiative

The Royal College of Surgeons and partners (including the National Institute of Health Research, Cancer Research UK and the Rosetrees Trust) have established, for the first time, a network of surgical trial units across the UK.

The Surgical Trials Centres will enable surgeons to deliver clinical studies to assess new surgical techniques and develop breakthroughs in treatment that will help to deliver improved care to thousands of patients. The RCS Surgical Trials Centres are located in Leeds, York, Bristol, Oxford, London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

Initiative chart, surgical trials initiative, september 2017


The program is being overseen by the Clinical Research Initiative Steering Committee (CRISC), an independent body that is chaired by Sir Michael Rawlins (Chairman of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

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. The surgical research charities are concerned that the development of clinical research in surgery has lagged behind that of non-surgical disciplines. The surgical trials units will seek to support new studies across all surgical specialties, ensuring that surgical innovations are introduced quickly and help to reduce regional variation in care.

In partnership with specialist surgical associations and affiliated charities, twelve national surgical specialty leads have been appointed with the specific remit to develop new trials, establish clinical networks, and to work with their patients to develop and deliver innovative trials across the surgical disciplines. So far surgical specialty leads have been assigned inthe specialties listed in the table above. We continue to work with societies representing the specialties not currently covered to develop these new posts.

The initiative has been active in promoting surgical research, throughout the medical care community, achieved by the RCS holding outreach events for healthcare professionals, funders and industry members.

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