Go back

Senior doctors urge recruitment for Covid-19 treatment trial

Doctors say hospitals should be aiming to recruit 60 per cent of eligible patients

The UK’s four chief medical officers and NHS England’s national medical director have contacted every NHS trust in the country urging them to continue to recruit Covid-19 patients to a clinical trial testing treatments for the deadly virus.

In a letter dated 18 August, the five senior doctors say hospitals should be aiming to recruit 60 per cent of eligible patients to the Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy trial (RECOVERY) now that there is less workforce pressure.

“Now, with less workforce pressure, this kind of figure is what we should be aiming for everywhere,” wrote the chief medical officer for Wales, Frank Atherton; the CMO for Scotland, Gregor Smith; the CMO for Northern Ireland, Michael McBride; the CMO for England, Chris Whitty; and national medical director at NHS England and NHS Improvement, Stephen Powis.

“It should be the default position that every eligible patient is offered enrolment into a trial.”

They highlight the finding from the trial that dexamethasone reduces deaths by one-third in patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation and by one-fifth in patients receiving oxygen.

As recruitment increases, the doctors say research and trial systems must also be “strengthened and ready to increase recruitment if the number of Covid-19 cases increases”.

Meanwhile, as the research response to Covid-19 moves into the next phase, including vaccine studies, they emphasise the need for paused research to restart and encourage research delivery staff and clinical academics to resume their research.