Research has never been more important.
The race to find effective treatments for COVID-19 has focussed attention on humanity’s reliance on medical advances to keep us healthy. To enable us to keep research into new medicines moving forward, it’s of huge importance that we create clinically safe environments, so everyone feels confident about coming into our clinics.
Our clinics have remained open during the pandemic, highlighting the importance of our ‘essential service’ status in continuing to deliver expert care for patients enrolled in clinical trials. It has also given us lots of time to get our safety measures firmly tested as we re- open enrolment to new studies and new patient volunteers.
How are you feeling?
It’s natural to sometimes feel a bit anxious before attending any clinic or hospital appointment -and now more than ever after we have been restricting our movements for several months and weighing the risks and the benefits of every trip. At MAC we are confident that the measures we have put in place will very much mean that the benefits of taking part in a clinical trial will outweigh the risks.
Reducing the risks
Our industry is heavily regulated, rightly so! As well as following all government guidelines for maintaining safe environments, we are also following guidance from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority), the EMA (European Medical Agency). We are also closely following guidance from the NHS research body, NIHR (National Institute for Health Research).
Each of our clinical studies has been risk assessed to ensure that it is safe to open enrolment to volunteers. Some studies that involve patients who are in more vulnerable groups will remain closed for now and under review.
Every aspect of our operations, from our working environments to patient and staff safety has been carefully assessed and is under constant review, to ensure that we are providing the highest standard of care and protection for all.
What to expect
We have had to look critically at how we can reduce risk to patients and staff and yet maintain access to critical research studies. The main changes you will see are:
- Reduced footfall at our clinical sites. Many staff will continue to work from home and face to face patient visits will be minimised by doing as many visits as possible by phone or video conferencing.
- Patients will be encouraged to travel to the clinics in their own car, or we will arrange and pay for transport in one of our approved taxi services. Travel by public transport is discouraged.
- Screening everyone (including our staff) before they come into our sites for symptoms of COVID-19 and checking their temperature. This will be done via phone call the day before your visit, and again when you arrive in reception.
- Lots of cleaning and sanitizing activities between patient visits! We are always stringent in our infection control policies, but ever more so now.
- Our waiting, reception (and recreation areas for residential studies) will remain closed to discourage close contact. You will have all visit procedures completed in one private room or area which you will be escorted to on arrival at the clinic. Refreshments or meals will be brought to you during your visit and our ‘help yourself’ drinks stations will remain closed for now.
- Our toilet and residential bathroom facilities are open, but access restricted to one person at a time in multiple cubicle bathrooms.
- There will be various signs, floor markings and hand sanitising stations to help you navigate and keep safe.
- Staff will be wearing approved levels of PPE -gloves, aprons masks (and visors if needing to do a closer than 1 metre examination or procedure).
- You will be asked to wear your own face covering during the visit, or we can provide you with one if you prefer.
- We are asking everyone who attends our sites to abide by current social distancing rules.
We are here to answer any questions -so please do get in touch if you have any concerns.