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Research and high standards of patient care

Research projects, recognising potential new ways of working and developing high standards of patient care are an important part of the NHS. We are committed to offering patients in our communities the opportunity to take part in research studies that are appropriate for them.

We do this by bringing national trials to our patients. We also work with academic university colleagues to produce research projects initiated by our own clinical staff. Evidence suggests that people who receive care in research active institutions have better health outcomes.

The main aims of research are to:

  • improve patient care
  • provide the best advice and treatment for our patients
  • improve the quality of life for people living with illness
  • prevent disease and reduce the number of people who become ill
  • make sure the treatments we give are effective.

Our clinical research relies on help and support from the people who use our services. If you wish to take part, you may be asked to participate in a research study or clinical trial. It’s up to you whether you want to do this. If you decide not to take part it will not affect your treatment in any way.

Getting involved in research

Being a participant in a research study can vary from filling out a simple questionnaire to trialling new treatments, depending on the study.

You will be given plenty of time and information to help you decide if you want to be involved and you can leave a study at any point, without giving reason.

Watch Pat Conneely, patient rep for research, talk about his involvement.


Watch Hazel Crawford Deputy COO KSS CRN talking about Importance of research, it’s role in providing evidence, the impact of being a research active organisation on patient outcomes, the role of the CRN and the role of NIHR.


Watch Stephen Grice Deputy Head of Sexual Health Services talking about the service’s participation in the HipVac trial a portfolio study on genital warts.


What are the benefits?

Taking part in research may benefit you and others in some of the following ways:

  • by giving you earlier access to new treatments, interventions and medicines
  • your treatment and progress may be monitored more closely with more frequent and longer appointments, meaning problems or changes can be picked up and acted on more quickly
  • the opportunities to learn more about your medical condition may help you to manage it better
  • you would be helping to identify and try more effective medical treatments for yourself and others
  • you would be helping the NHS provide people with the best possible standard of care.

As a Trust we work with patients to understand which areas need researching further and those that would benefit from a newer and more innovative way of working. If you are interested in a research study in a particular area of health or social care, then please do let us know. Alternatively, have a look at the list of studies we are recruiting people to at the moment.

If you are interested in being a potential participant or would like to understand more, please give us a call. You can talk to a clinical or research nurse, in the strictest confidence.

Research studies you may be interested in joining

At the moment, we have two studies where we are looking for volunteers:


Safetxt is a study open to 16-24 year olds that is looking at the effectiveness of text messages promoting safer sex and whether this helps young people to adopt safer sexual behaviours, thereby reducing the number of sexually transmitted infections in this age group.

If you have any queries regarding this study please contact our Clinical Studies Officer Charlie Marlow on 01233 667776 or email


This trial is looking at whether people with a rotator cuff problem do better after up to 6 physiotherapy sessions or after one best practice advice session with a physiotherapist. The trial is also testing whether getting an injection in the shoulder joint before starting either regime helps. All of the treatments are already commonly used in the NHS to treat rotator cuff. The trial is recruiting individuals with a new episode of shoulder pain due to a rotator cuff problem and who have not received any physiotherapy. We are looking for 60 individuals in the Sevenoaks area to take part in the study.

If you are interested in joining or would like to find out more information please contact our Clinical Studies Officer Charlie Marlow on 01233 667776 or email


HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the use of anti-HIV medicines by HIV negative people in order to prevent them from becoming HIV positive if exposed to HIV. Currently, this combination drug is licensed in Europe for use as HIV PrEP. We know from previous studies worldwide that this combination drug is very good at reducing the risk of HIV infection. However, it is difficult to effectively plan for a national PrEP programme in England without knowing how many people will need PrEP, how many will want to take PrEP, and how long they will stay on PrEP.

In order to find this out, the PrEP Impact Trial will make PrEP available to 10,000 people over three years. HIV negative men and women attending sexual health clinics in England will have their risk of HIV assessed by their care team and be offered PrEP if they meet the eligibility criteria. Through the trial we will be able to measure how many attendees at sexual health clinics meet eligibility criteria for PrEP, how many of these take up the offer of PrEP and how long they remain on PrEP for.

If you would like to find out more about this study or are interested in taking part please contact our Clinical Studies Officer Charlie Marlow on 01233 667776 or email

fMRI Neurofeedback in children with ADHD

The aim of the study is to investigate whether fMRI neurofeedback is an effective new medication-free treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Children with a diagnosis of ADHD who participate in this research will be trained to enhance their brain activity in a MRI scanner by playing a computer game that is connected to your brain activity. This study involves several visits to the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings College, London. This study follows on from a previous feasibility study which found that neurofeedback training improved the behaviour problems ADHD children have.

If you would like to find out more information please contact Charlie Marlow, Clinical Studies Officer on 01233 667776 or by email at

Brain Stimulation and cognitive training in ADHD

This study is to help develop a new treatment for ADHD that is not reliant on pharmacological medication but training of attention and self-control skills with the extra help of some brain stimulation. Participants will be training to improve their attention skills with a computer game and at the same time they will receive brain stimulation using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). tDCS consists of small electrical currents which will be placed over a frontal part of the brain to boost the learning effect in the computer game. This t technique has been around for more than 20 years, it is completely safe, has no side effects and is used in many other patient groups. Participants in the study will need to attend appointments at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings College, London at to be trained in the computer games while you receive brain stimulation.

If you would like to find out more information please contact Charlie Marlow, Clinical Studies Officer on 01233 667776 or by email at

Quality of life, sleep and rheumatoid arthritis (QUASAR)

Health related quality of life (HRQoL) is concerned with the effect a person’s health has on how well they feel. People with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) often have poor HRQoL, despite well-controlled disease. People with RA also report disrupted sleep. Sleep has many different parts that can become disrupted such as how long a person takes to get to sleep, how often they wake up during the night, and so on. We don’t know which parts of sleep are disrupted in people with RA and whether or not they explain why some people have poor HRQoL. This study is asked for volunteers to download the study app, complete questionnaires and wear a sleep monitor for 30days.

If you would like to find out more information please contact Charlie Marlow, Clinical Studies Officer on 01233 667776 or by email at

Intellectual Disability and Mental Health

Assessing the Genomic Impact on Neurodevelopment (IMAGINE ID): This study is looking at collecting information on children and young adults diagnosed with intellectual disability. Intellectual disability often has a genetic cause and many children with ID are born with genetic changes. These changes in the genetic code (DNA) are very complex. This means that people with ID rarely have the same genetic changes. Examples of genetic changes include gains or duplications of DNA, losses or deletions of DNA and changes of the letters of the DNA code. By collecting this information the study team hope to understand the impact of genetic changes on children’s behaviour. The study involves completion of online questionnaires and an online puzzle.

If you would like to find out more information please contact Charlie Marlow, Clinical Studies Officer on 01233 667776 or by email at

Recent studies

We have recently carried out these research projects:


Our Sexual Health Service have been working with colleagues from Medway, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells and Picardy in France on a study to examine the factors behind late diagnosis of HIV in the 2 regions.  The study aimed to:

  • conduct a comprehensive literature review of previous work undertaken in the field of late HIV diagnosis so the project actions can add value to existing studies
  • contribute to an increase in earlier diagnosis of HIV
  • understand why individuals in both regions typically test ‘late’ for HIV
  • conduct an intervention to support a change of behaviour in relation to late diagnosis and
  • increase in the number of earlier diagnoses of HIV (in Kent and Medway in the UK together with Amiens and Creil in Picardy, France).

The report has now been published detailing the methods, findings and outcomes of the study.

HIV - Discreet Choices

The Sexual Health Service has been very successful in recruiting people willing to complete a questionnaire to help develop services for HIV as a long-term condition. The study is being led by a team in Brighton which is working with trusts across south east England.

OPAL study (optimising pelvic floor exercises to achieve long-term benefits)

Pelvic floor research could help relieve stress incontinence for thousands of women. We were looking for 30 women with stress or mixed incontinence who were being treated by our urogynae physiotherapists and who wanted to take part in a two-year study to improve their pelvic floor.

This involved taking part in either a basic home exercise programme of pelvic floor exercises or exercises plus biofeedback to see which works best. Patients were seen 6 times over a 16 week period.


Compression therapy is the main treatment for venous leg ulcers but it can be uncomfortable, inconvenient for everyday life and take patients many months to heal. Some small trials have indicated that high dose daily aspirin might improve the healing of venous leg ulcers in addition to compression but more research is needed. The AVURT study is looking at whether aspirin improves the healing time, and if it is safe to use in people with venous leg ulcers.

The study team is looking for 10 patients in the Sittingbourne area with venous leg ulcers. If you are interested in joining the study please contact Angela Moon, Research Nurse,  on 01233 667974  to discuss whether you are eligible.

Epilepsy Messaging Groups

This study is measuring the use and engagement of a peer-supported mobile messaging application specifically designed for epileptics. Many people with epilepsy feel isolated and struggle to find others who are also dealing with the same condition. Existing methods can be too costly, inaccessible or time consuming. It is hoped that by utilising an already well used device that a phone messaging application will be a more effective alternative.