Depression: Improving Recruitment into Clinical Trials

Project Overview

Embedding research in clinical services is a core function of the NHS. National policy states that any eligible patient will be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical research. Currently, patients with depression do not get this chance. Most trials recruit less than 10% of eligible participants and only 30% of trials for depression recruit to target and on time.

DiReCT is developing and testing a new systematic recruitment method for participants with depression into clinical research, including observational studies and randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of psychological treatments – the ‘Cohort Multiple RCT’ (cmRCT) system.

DiReCT is the establishment of a cohort of patients with depression in Devon who can participate in clinical research. This is a relatively new idea and as such we are conducting a ‘proof of principle’ exercise in three areas:

1. The ETHICS TEST: how ethically acceptable is the cmRCT system?

2. The RECRUITMENT TEST: what proportion of NHS patients with depression will agree to join the DiReCT cohort?

3. The TRIALS TEST: how many patients in the DiReCT cohort would consent to being randomly selected to receive new treatments?

DiReCT will use the cmRCT method to establish a longitudinal cohort of patients with depression using a research recruitment method which is closely aligned to the way treatments are offered to patients in routine clinical practice. Our partners include ethicists, patients with lived experience of depression, clinicians, academics and the Depression and Anxiety Service of Devon Partnership NHS Trust.

DiReCT will run from the new £3.5m Sir Henry Wellcome Building for Mood Disorders Research at the University of Exeter and is led by Professor David A Richards, Professor of Mental Health Services Research and NIHR Senior Investigator. The project is funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and will run from May until January 2013.

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Project Team

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  • Project update: I have just uploaded our latest newsletter if you haven't already seen it, and our study poster. DiReCT presented a poster at the Medical and Health Research Showcase at the University of Exeter on 4th January 2013. This was an excellent opportunity to promote our study
    and network with the regional research community. Lucy Evans Reply 16.00 09/07/2013

  • Project update: We received Ethics approval on 20th August and NHS R&D approval on 13th September and we are now preparing for the next stage of the project which is to test the feasibility of recruiting participants from Devon Partnership NHS Trust into a cmRCT cohort. Sarah Ross Reply 10.12 18/09/2012

  • It's September already and I have just uploaded our first DiReCT newsletter; if you haven't already seen it have a look. Lucy Evans Reply 09.24 11/09/2012

  • Hello project team - I have just uploaded a DiReCT flyer and the DiReCT presentation for the cmRCT workshop we attended in Sheffield at SCHARR in July. I have also uploaded our Research protocol, if you would like to have a look. Lucy Evans Reply 12.01 15/08/2012

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