Clinical Trials Day 20th May 2014


Each year, International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on 20 May to commemorate the day that Scottish naval surgeon, James Lind started the first modern clinical trial.

Our Trust will be running a series of events on 20 May, promoting the fact that it is ‘Ok to ask’ about clinical research, a campaign being launched by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division.

The ‘Ok to ask’ campaign aims to raise public awareness of the benefits of HSC research and encourage patients to ask their health care professionals about research that is taking place, that might be applicable to them.

Information Stands

There will be information stands in the foyer of the Royal Victoria Hospital and Belfast City Hospital, promoting the campaign and running a number of interactive activities to encourage discussion with patients and the public about research within the Trust, with assistance from the NI Clinical Research Network (NICRN). At clinics throughout the Trust the NICRN nurses will be promoting the campaign by wearing their ‘Ok to ask’ badges.
There are also activities running in the NI Clinical Trials Centre (NICTN), NI Clinical Research Facility (NICRF) and the NI Clinical Trials Unit (NICTU)

  • The NICTC are having an information stand in the Cancer Centre Foyer 10.30am – 2.00pm, with staff and patient representatives to discuss research in the centre
  • The NICRF, U Floor Belfast City Hospital are having an open day for patients and the public 10.00am – 3.00pm, with an opportunity for them to try out some tests used in the facility when undertaking trials
  • The NICTU are having an Open Day for researchers and staff on 27 May, providing an opportunity to find out more about their services, clinical research portfolio and how to collaborate with CTU. It will also provide an opportunity to interact with staff from the NICTU, Victoria Pharmaceuticals, academic and research colleagues.

We would like everybody to get involved, patients, healthcare professionals and the public, to support the ‘Ok to ask’ campaign so that people might benefit from research. Further information on any of the activities running to mark International Clinical Trials Day or the ‘Ok to ask’ campaign can be obtained from the Research Office, -

Background Information

James Lind carried out research on scurvy, whilst serving on HMS Salisbury in 1747 comparing six of the proposed remedies. All his scurvy patients were given the same general diet, but this was supplemented with various additional items, including cider, elixir vitriol, vinegar, seawater, nutmeg and oranges and lemons. In just six days, those patients taking citrus fruits were fit for duty. This enabled Lind to make the link between citrus fruits in the diet and prevention of scurvy. James Lind is generally considered to be the originator of clinical trials.
Thanks to James Lind, carefully regulated clinical trials and research are currently the most effective way to establish which new treatments are beneficial for human health and are the way in which we improve treatments in the HSC. In many cases doctors will tell patients about research, but we also wasn’t to encourage patients and their carers to ask their doctor or healthcare professionals about clinical research and whether it might be right for them or their relative.

International Clinical Trials Day provides a focal point to raise awareness of the importance of research to healthcare, and highlight how partnerships between patients and healthcare practitioners are vital to high-quality, relevant research.