What we do

NELFT R&D endeavours to promote good quality and innovative research by:

  • Supporting researchers through supervision, training, co-ordination and statistics and methodology assistance.
  • Monitoring adherence to the NHS & DoH research governance guidelines.
  • Ensuring all research staff adhere to principles of Good Clinical Practice
  • Supporting HRA with capacity and capability for research

R&D Support

Assessing, arranging and confirming capability and capacity


Prior to a study commencing at NELFT there is a robust assessment of NELFT’s capacity and capability to act as a site for the study. This process is facilitated by our Research Site Coordinator (James Sinclair) and involves working with the NELFT Principal Investigator (PI), relevant NELFT services and the Study team to ascertain the following*:

(*this list is not exhaustive but provides an example of the nature of questions addressed during the assessment process)  

  • PI identification (if necessary)
    • Is there a NELFT member of staff willing to take on the PI role for the study?
    • Are they in a position to provide what the study requires?
  • Realistic recruitment targets
    • Do we have the required patient population and footfall for the study?
    • Will we be able to meet the recruitment target within the proposed time period?
  • Resources
    • Do we have enough staff in the right place at the right time to facilitate recruitment and study activities?
    • Does the study require the support of our Clinical Studies Officers (CSOs)?
    • Does the study require any specialised equipment? 
    • What requirements are there for the storage of site files and study documentation?
  • Impact on NELFT services
    • What/ how much time will be required of NELFT staff?  
    • What can we do to minimise any service impact/ use of clinical staff time?  
    • Are there other studies currently running in the service? 
  • Training
    • Have all NELFT staff who are going to be involved in the informed consent process completed Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training?

We strongly recommend GCP training for all NELFT staff involved in research. This ensures that the trust maintains a high standard of research delivery and helps protect both research participants and the quality of the data.


If assessment of capacity and capability is successful (and following receipt of, at least, the initial assessment letter from the HRA) then arrangements will be made for the delivery of the study at NELFT.

This involves the putting in place of processes necessary to meet agreements made during the assessment process. This might include, but is not limited to:

  • Scheduling staff activities (both clinical staff and CSOs)
  • Planning and putting in place any required staff training as appropriate in line with HRA guidance and sponsor requirements
  • Localising of study documents
  • Putting in place all arrangements to deliver the study across the required patient pathway
  • Completing arrangements for honorary research contracts or letters of access
  • Completing negotiation and agreement of financial arrangements
  • Scheduling of site initiation visit


Once all processes are in place and final approval from the HRA has been received the R&D department will issue official confirmation of capacity and capability and the study can commence at NELFT. 


We aim to produce an environment which encourages research by providing availability of well trained and experienced supervisors. We offer clinical supervision, research supervision, statistical and research methodology supervision and provide additional support through PHD & Research Journal Club. Researchers can approach the R&D department for assistance with location of a supervisor for a project and for peer review.


We support members of the trust who wish to further their research knowledge and skills by internal workshops and open days and external funding for courses with a substantive research component. Some of the training workshops on offer in 2015 are maximise your memory, excelling in project management, how to write a research proposal, getting your research funded, conducting qualitative systematic reviews, running focus groups and more. Click here for the complete training programme.


The R&D department staff aims to make the process of research application and approval as pain free as possible. This is achieved by working closely with Human Resources, Health Research Authority and the North Thames LCRN to make sure that research governance and NELFT protocols are adhered to and that researchers are given assistance with form completion.


We offer small grants and scholarships for individuals who wish to cover the expenses of running a project or attending research based training courses.

Grant application and costing

We provide support with grant application, costing, complete costing for research grant applications and help to identify personnel or expertise in grant writing

Patient and Public Involvement:

Patient and Public Involvement at NELFT The NELFT R&D department strives to deliver quality research which places service users and carers at the centre of our work. We are keen to continue with this and increase our Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) at the Trust and would like to encourage you to get involved.

INVOLVE is a national advisory group which is part of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and one of its main aims is to support  greater public involvement in NHS research. They define PPI as follows - Patient and public involvement in research is research that is carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.

Research is enhanced by valuing the contributions of service users, carers and staff in sharing their knowledge, experience and skills.  Such involvement improves the relevance and quality of our research and ensures that our studies are focussed on the needs of patients.  In turn this can potentially expedite the transfer of research results and evidence into practice.

PPI offers people the opportunity to work together with research teams and grant applicants on varied aspects of research from the grant application stage and study design, through to study delivery and dissemination. Further examples of areas for contribution are assisting with identifying methods of reaching potential participant groups or advising on the accessibility and acceptability of study literature i.e. patient information sheets and adverts.

By collaborating on the development of research the public can assist in highlighting research priorities and influencing the delivery of improved practice and care for all of us. So if you recognize the value of research and would like to contribute to our on-going work through PPI then please do contact either Elisa Aguirre on extension 64497 or by email at elisa.aguirre@nelft.nhs.uk or Maria Patsou on extension 59177 and maria.patsou@nelft.nhs.uk.


NELFT uses a system called Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) to safely and securely retrieve data from its Electronic Medical Record system. As part of this process, all patient information is de-identified to protect patient identities before being loaded into a secure database. This allows NELFT to carry out research for the benefit of patients and society, including clinical audits and service evaluation using information from the Trust’s clinical records.

What if I do not want to be included?

If you are happy for your clinical records to be de-identified and included in CRIS you do not need to do anything now. If at any point in the future, you would prefer your de-identified notes to not be included, you can do so by contacting the CRIS Administrator:

Email: R&D@nelft.nhs.uk

Telephone: 03005551200 ext 67942

How are my personal details protected?

CRIS removes or hides any information that can identify you. This is called de-identification. Your name, the name of your carer, your full date of birth, address, postcode and phone numbers is replaced with characters such as XXXX or truncated to remove the chance of identification. This is how the de-identified information would appear:

January 22 2018 XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX Dear XXXX Re: Cognitive Stimulation Group. I am writing to confirm that the next Cognitive Stimulation Group will commence on Monday 12 February 2018 for 10 weeks.