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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 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.

What is health research?

For anyone who is interested in finding out more about health research, FutureLearn have created a free, online course looking at ways people can get involved in research and the benefits that research brings to healthcare. The course can be found at and is available to everybody.

Research studies you may be interested in joining

At the moment, we have the following studies running that are looking for volunteers:

MINDER Health Management study

Our Research and Development Team have opened a study called MINDER, sponsored by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The study team are asking people to take part in a survey to gather views on the use of assistive technology and medical devices in the management of dementia. They would like to hear from anyone over the age of 18, regardless of experience or knowledge of dementia or assistive technologies.

The use of assistive technology and medical devices for dementia is increasing so they would like to hear from a wide variety of people to ensure future assistive technology projects are inclusive and easily accessible to all.

The survey results will help to:

  • Understand if there are any extra steps needed to take when introducing a project or new technologies to people
  • Understand how best to present new assistive technologies to people and if there is the need to employ different approaches for different people
  • Roll out new technologies to a wider range of people with different experiences and perspectives.

Please select Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust in section six of the survey, between Frimley and Sussex Community.

The survey is open to staff, patients, friends and family, so please share far and wide.

You can also contact Charlie Marlow from the R&D team for further information:

Diet and Eating Behaviours across Early Adulthood Transitions - DBEAT

The DBEAT study aims to recruit participants from schools, colleges and further education colleges who are aged 17-18 (school year 13). Schools will be provided with the study information and given time to consider taking part. The study team from the University of Cambridge, will contact interested schools with the recruitment packs. Schools will introduce the study to all year 13 students via email and through tutor discussions with students. Students who are interested can then sign up to the study.

Evaluation of the 0-5 Public Health Investment in England

Health visitors are qualified public health nurses who support families with children aged 5 under. The study team would like to hear from staff and parents about their experiences of health visiting, including not receiving health visiting, in order to understand how much and what type of health visiting might make a difference to families.

This study will help the government and professionals decide what health visiting services should look like.

The DNA, Children and Young People’s Health Resource (D-CYPHR)

The D-CYPHR programme is supporting health research for children 0-15 years of age. To join the study, interested young people will be required to answer a health and lifestyle questionnaire and donate a saliva sample. By studying thousands of DNA samples together with health information, scientists can begin to see the big picture of how our genes and environment influence physical and mental health.

The programme is led by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) BioResource.

Development of parent experience-based information resources for families of children age 0-4 years with mild/unilateral deafness

The research study is being done to learn about what it’s like for parents and carers to have a child with mild or unilateral deafness, what information parents and carers need to understand their child’s deafness and what they need to understand and weigh up the different options for what to do next.

The study will involve an online interview. Results of this study will help develop information and improve support for parents and carers when their child is identified with mild or unilateral deafness.

REDUCE - Carbon study

Can you help us? We’re taking part in the REDUCE-Carbon study which we thought might be of interest to you and your colleagues.

The study team are trying to understand whether prescribing choice for inhalers is influenced by knowledge of the carbon footprint. If you would like to take part, please click on the QR code within the attached poster to find out more. Alternatively, please follow the link below:

Once you have read the information, please click to confirm at the bottom of the link and click on “Next page” to start the survey. The link to the survey through the Word document (via the Participant Information Sheet), is not currently active.

Please share the study with your colleagues. It is open to all HCP’s, no matter what your knowledge of inhalers may be, prescriber and non-prescriber.”

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Wright or Charlie Marlow as leads for the study in KCHFT:


This study is open to anyone who has ever been diagnosed with a melanoma of the skin, of the mucosal surfaces (e.g., nose, mouth, genitals) or under the nails. It is also open to anyone with a family history of melanoma. The primary aim of MyMelanoma is to recruit and maintain contact with a large group of melanoma patients to build the biggest melanoma data resource ever collected in the UK. We hope this resource will enable researchers to answer key questions about melanoma, for example, how different diet and lifestyle factors may affect the risk of cancer.

If you wish to take part or would like more information please visit

Reduce-Carbon- RandomisED control trial to Understand whether prescribing Choice for inhalErs is influenced by knowledge of the CARBON footprint

This study is for healthcare professionals to explore how inhaler choices are made and specifically whether carbon footprint information changes prescribing recommendations. If you are a healthcare professional, both prescribers and non-prescribers, and would like to take part, please email for more information.

Virtual consultations for people with learning disabilities, their families and healthcare providers: a CO-design study

Doctors’ appointments through video or telephone (Virtual Consultations/ VCs) have grown in recent months. However, this method can cause difficulties to some people including People with Learning Disabilities (PwLD) when accessing health care. Greater knowledge, guidance/education materials are needed to ensure that video or telephone appointments are conducted in a way that improves the care and experience of PwLD and their families.

This study seeks to co-design best-practice guidance and resources for Health Care Professionals (HCPs such as doctors/nurses) to support people with learning disabilities (PwLD) and their families to access, have a better experience and benefit from virtual consultation.

The University of Surrey would like to work with PwLD, their families and HCPs in designing and developing best-practice guidance for health professionals, and support materials to improve virtual consultations experiences for PwLD/their families.

Renewal - The use of a Digital Intervention for Weight Management in Adolescents

Renewal is a feasibility study which aims to evaluate the usability and effectiveness of the Second Nature adult weight management app for use in adolescents aged 13-17.

Study objectives:

  • To determine the usability and acceptability of the Second Nature tier 2 weight management app for use in adolescents
  • To determine the short-term effectiveness of the app for weight management and improved Quality of Life indicators in young people
  • To assess any potential harms related to app usage

The study is being conducted by the Health Behaviours Team within the Primary Care Department at the University of Oxford.

Spiromac - SPIROmetry to Manage Asthma in Children

Spirometry is a simple breathing test which does not change over time when asthma is controlled. Spirometry could be a very useful test to monitor asthma because it measures lung function, i.e. how the lungs are working. To do spirometry children take a big breath in and breathe out through a tube as hard as they can.

The SPIROMAC, a randomised controlled trial, will see if a breathing test called spirometry every three months can help prevent asthma attacks in children aged between 6-15 years, who have had an asthma attack in the last year.

C-POS - Children’s Palliative Outcome Scale (C-POS) Validation questionnaire study

The C-POS project, sponsored by King’s College London, aims to help test a questionnaire developed for children and young people who are unwell and their parents/carers. The questionnaire assesses the concerns of children and young people with a serious condition and those of their parents/carers. It is intended to ensure that health professionals ask about and address the things that matter to children and young people and their families.

VenUS 6

A randomised controlled trial recruiting 675 people with one or more venous leg ulcers, to investigate the clinical and cost effectiveness of compression wraps.

Participants will be randomised to one of three treatment arms: evidence-based compression, two-layer bandage or compression wraps.

The study will compare compression wraps with evidence-based compression for time to healing of venous leg ulcers.

The study is being delivered from two sites: Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital, Herne Bay and Deal Hospital.

The Sponsor is Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

DEVA (Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit)

A randomised control study running within the sexual health services of whether a new antiseptic treatment, dequalinium chloride, is as good at treating bacterial vaginosis (BV) symptoms (such as an unpleasant smell or discharge) as antibiotics. Participants will be randomised to either Dequalinium Chloride or Usual care treatment and will then evaluate the treatment using questionnaires at set time points.

Covid-19-ISARIC/WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol for Severe Emerging Infections in the UK (CCP-UK)

A selection of patients admitted to community hospitals with Covid-19 are enrolled into this study and data is collected on their symptoms, treatment and outcomes. This data contributes to global efforts to provide information on those most at risk on Covid-19 as well as to help find common signs and symptoms of Covid-19 and to help establish treatments.

Recent studies

We have recently carried out these research projects:

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

If you live in east Kent and have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or care for someone who has the condition, your help is needed with a research study.

The research team wants to know more about how COPD is managed in east Kent – and is recruiting participants until the end of October 2023.

They would like input from everyone involved, from patients to carers and nurses, to get a better understanding of how people manage the condition, with the ultimate aim of preventing people from having to go into hospital.

We are working with the University of Kent and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Kent Surrey Sussex on the study.

People’s involvement could range from completing a survey to being interviewed, or being part of a focus group, with face-to-face or remote options available.

Annmarie Hirst, the Principal Investigator for the study, said: “We want to learn more about the support and what would help people more, to live independently with this condition. We want to learn from people’s experiences.”

To get involved email or phone 0300 013 2078.

Supporting nationwide trial of a pioneering nutritional product

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) has taken part in trials of a new plant-based formula for people who need to be tube-fed.

Trusts across the UK were asked to get involved, with research being carried out by Nutricia, a global leader in specialised nutrition. KCHFT was one of 14 centres which took part.

The research is now complete and Nutricia is keen to bring the product to market in the UK, if it passes the stringent rules and regulations needed to be approved.

The product could benefit people who have a cow’s milk allergy or intolerance, or are vegan and prefer not to consume animal products. It could also help those who need extra fibre and others who have very specific nutritional needs. The new product is plant-based and is high in protein derived from soy and pea sources.

Lil Diamond, Highly Specialist Oncology Dietitian, led the research study at KCHFT. She said: “The study needed adults who were tube-fed and who might benefit from a plant-based feed or concentrated energy feed which has fibre in it. We needed patients who were on a comparable feed, who were willing to trial the new product and complete some extra reviews and monitoring..”

Patients were asked to try the product for 28 days. Lil said: “Both stayed on the product and found it beneficial. Nationally it is the first plant-based enteral feed, which is exciting as there have been limited options until now.’’

Nationally, 50 patients were involved in the 2kcal Tube Feed Study.

Enteral tube feeds are used to meet the nutritional needs of people who can’t eat enough, or at all. Examples of reasons why people might need tube feeding are varied and tube feeding may be needed after a stroke, treatment for cancer or for those suffering life-long diseases such as Motor Neurone Disease or Huntington’s Disease. Some people may also be tube-fed from birth, due to cerebral palsy or a congenital condition.

At the time of taking part in the research study, Lil was working for KCHFT’s Home Enteral Nutrition Service. She is now an oncology dietitian for KCHFT supporting the nutritional needs of those receiving treatment for cancer.

She added: “I would encourage anyone, if the opportunity arises, to get involved with research. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the KCHFT Research and Development Team, they were brilliant.”

Recently, Corbin Griffen, Clinical Research Manager at Danone UK and Ireland, presented the study at the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism conference, held in Lyon.

If you are interested in getting involved in research, contact the KCHFT Research Team on 0300 013 2078 or email

SOCKSESS - Co-designing a digital health intervention: smart sensing socks for monitoring diabetic feet and preventing ulceration

‘Socksess’ is a smart-sensing sock that is being designed to help people with diabetes manage their foot health.

The study team needs to know if and how this sock technology could work in practice. Listening to the views and experiences of people with diabetes and their carers will help them to work this out. Findings from this study will help to guide the design process to make sure that the sock will be useful and beneficial to people with diabetes.

The study is being run by the University of Southampton and is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Diverse experiences of unpaid care

Researchers are looking for people who might be able to help with a study into diverse experiences of unpaid care.

They would like to speak with people from minority ethnic groups, such as black, Asian, gypsy, traveller or Roma and also people who identify as LGBTQ+ who look after a family member, partner or friend because they are getting older, they misuse drugs and alcohol or they have an illness or disability.

The research study is called Diverse experiences of unpaid carers across the caring trajectory (DECAT). It is being carried out by the University of Kent and funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s School for Social Care.

People are asked to spare up to an hour of time to speak to a researcher over the phone, online or face-to-face. Assistance can be provided, for example, interpreters and participants will be given a £10 voucher.

For more information about how to take part contact Diane Fox by emailing: or by phoning 01227 827018, before Friday, July 28.

Continuing Compassion in Care – a survey study

Caring for someone with dementia can be both challenging and rewarding for family and friend carers. This study will explore family and friend carers’ experiences of compassion when they are or were caring for someone living with dementia.

As part of this project the study team have developed a tool to measure family and friend carers experience of compassion and how caring for someone living with dementia can affect the experience of compassion.

Participants in the study will be asked to complete a survey on two occasions four weeks apart.

Open Door Project

Healthcare professional’s prioritisation of barriers to accessing psychological support for perinatal obsessive-compulsive disorder and generation of recommendations to improve access to support.

This study is about perinatal obsessive-compulsive disorder or POCD. POCD means experiencing unwanted, distressing or intrusive thoughts which do not seem to go away, and/or feeling like you have to perform particular actions to try and mitigate these, during pregnancy or up to the year after birth.

The study team, The University of Sussex, are seeking the views of a minimum of 200 healthcare professionals who work with perinatal populations, and to co-design recommendations in order to increase access to services for POCD.

Evaluating insoles for children with idiopathic symptomatic flexible flat feet (OSTRICH)

A study in children aged between 6-14 with flat feet. As a child grows, the shape of their feet changes and form an arch. For some children this does not happen and can cause discomfort and pain. The aim of the study is to determine which of the two most common treatments; insoles and exercise along with footwear recommendations, are most effective.

The study is looking to recruit 478 children from various sites taking part in the study.

Sponsor is the University of York.

Positive Voices

Positive Voices is a national survey of people living with HIV. It aims to capture the lived experience and met and unmet needs of people receiving HIV care in the UK.

This is a survey study taking place across five clinics in KCHFT; Canterbury, Thanet, Ashford, Folkestone and Chatham.

Bispectral Index monitoring for intravenous sedation in dentistry

The purpose of this study is to investigate the usefulness of a piece of equipment (bispectral Index Monitor) in helping to monitor patients with a disability having intravenous sedation for their dental treatment. Four sticky tabs placed on the forehead of the patient will be the only addition to their normal sedation treatment, in order to monitor their level of sedation.

The study is being delivered through the Community Dental Services at Canterbury Health Centre and the Rainbow Mash in Ashford.

Evaluation of HIS-UK (Brighton and Sussex Clinical Trials Unit)

HIS-UK is a condom promotion study that aims to make using condoms more enjoyable.

The study provides education and training either face-to- face by a professional (proHIS) or online (eHIS) on topics including how to use condoms safely and finding the best condom and lubricant for the participant.

During the study, participants will test a variety of condoms and lubricants at their own home and then rate online the ones that were tried.

Publications resulting from studies KCHFT has been involved in


‘Health Care Workers’ Need for Headspace: Findings from a Multisite Definitive Radomized Controlled Trial of an Unguided Digital Mindfulness-Based Self-help App to Reduce Healtcare Worker Stress’ JMIR mHealth and uHealth, vol 2022.

Staff experiences of the nursing associate role in a community setting