Industry and Academia

Who we work with

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust’s key vision is “great healthcare from great people” and to support this we aim to “make a difference to the experience and outcomes of health care to the people of Kent, the NHS and internationally through Research, Inquiry and Innovation. Our strength is the dedication of our researchers and supporting staff, and the excellent working environments within our research teams.

At a strategic level East Kent Hospitals works closely with our two local Universities – University of Kent, including Medway School of Pharmacy and Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU).

East Kent Hospitals are part of the Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey, Sussex (ARC-KSS), which is one of 15 ARCs across England, part of a £135 million investment by the NIHR to improve the health and care of patients and the public.

Several Trust staff hold joint appointments between our organisation and our local Universities. In addition, many of our clinicians are actively collaborating with local University academics on multidisciplinary research projects from basic laboratory studies through to late phase interventional studies in patients, or to put in another way, ‘from bench to bedside’. The scope of our joint working extends in other directions as well, for example how we better equip our workforce for the challenges of the future. Most importantly, however, is that all our joint working is focused on delivering our vision to improve health and care outcomes for the people of East Kent and beyond.

Our academic collaborations are not limited to East Kent.  We have strengths in many different disciplines, which enables interesting and constructive collaborative work. We also enjoy strategic and collaborative partnerships with academics and clinicians in other universities, as well as NHS Trusts.

Currently our staff collaborate with colleagues in North America, Australasia, various European countries, countries in the Indian Subcontinent, and many organisations across the UK including University College London, Goldsmiths College. Click here to visit the "Who We Work With" page

Our areas of work

The areas in which we currently lead projects nationally or internationally constantly evolve, but areas where we have a particularly strong reputation for this include: kidney disease; rare bleeding disorders, including haemophilia; engineering and assistive technologies; neuro-rehabilitation; health informatics and modelling; orthodontics and gynaecological cancer. We are constantly seeking to develop new areas of research, and further information about this can be found on our ‘Our Areas of Research’ page.

Our local population

The catchment population of East Kent Hospitals is approximately 775,000 people, although some of our services – haemophilia, renal (kidney) disease and vascular surgery – extend their reach into West Kent & Medway and beyond. Besides being one of the largest counties in England and highly geographically dispersed, there are considerable pockets of deprivation and unmet need within our catchment.

Importantly, for those considering undertaking research with us, Kent Surrey & Sussex is recognised as have the lowest levels of participation in NIHR Portfolio studies (8000 per million population, compared to an England median of approximately 13,500 PMP in 2017-18). Therefore, unlike some parts of England which are potentially ‘research saturated’, Kent offers considerable untapped resource as far as potential research participation is concerned.


Our facilities

East Kent Hospitals operates over five sites, with our three main sites being William Harvey Hospital, Ashford; Kent & Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury; and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, Margate. We provide a full suite of facilities to support research delivery on all three main sites, including: dedicated research delivery teams;  inpatient and day case beds, including Level 2 and Level 3 care (Intensive Therapy Units); extensive outpatient facilities; operating theatres; all diagnostic imaging modalities, including plain X-ray, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT and MR scanning across the three main sites; state-of-the-art interventional radiology suite; endoscopy; full pharmacy facilities; full pathology facilities; cardiac and respiratory investigation units, including echocardiography.

Additionally, we provide specialist facilities on some but not all sites: for example, we have a fixed-site PET-CT scanner on our Ashford site; specialist neurophysiological investigations are provided on our Canterbury site, although some of these services (e.g. EEG) are mobile to other sites; the ‘hub’ dialysis & inpatient renal units and interventional radiology suites for Kent & Medway are located at Canterbury; and our neonatal unit is based in Ashford.

We also operate from Royal Victoria Hospital, Folkestone and Buckland Hospital, Dover with a more restricted range of facilities being available on these sites. This list of our facilities is not exhaustive, and further detail can be provided on request.

CT & MR Scanning capabilities

We have a range of CT & MR scanners across our three main sites.

Nuclear Medicine facilities

We are delighted to have recently acquired a new fixed site PET-CT scanner (GE Discovery MI Digital Ready) at our Ashford site in partnership with Alliance Medical. In addition, we have three SPECT scanners (two in Canterbury & one in Ashford) and have installed two new SPECT/CT scanners at our Canterbury site. A radiopharmacy facility resides in Canterbury with a blood labelling suite and counting laboratory for non-imaging radioisotope studies.

Pathology facilities

We have capacity to receive, process (centrifugation, aliquoting, dispatch) and store samples on all three main sites. A wide range of all common pathology investigations can be undertaken in house and EKHUFT provides supra-regional facilities in immunology and haemophilia/thromobophilia.

Pharmacy facilities

Pharmacy has dispensaries with on all three main sites. The Pharmacy Aseptic Production Unit on the Canterbury site reconstitutes systemic anti-cancer treatments including chemotherapy and antibodies. A dedicated Pharmacy Clinical Trials Team is responsible for set-up, maintenance and monitoring of all trials involving Investigational Medicinal Products across all of our sites. Documentation is controlled through a Quality Management System under the guidance of the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Team. Prescribing for trials utilises both ARIA E-prescribing software and paper –based systems.

Our staff

EKHUFT has over 40 staff who work full-time supporting our research activities. In addition, many Trust staff support R&I as part of their day-to-day roles in other areas – for example, our doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals who fulfil the role of Principal Investigator.

Core R&I Team

The Core R&I Team is led by our R&I Manager, and its function is to advise and support researchers internal and external to the Trust who wish to work with us. The team can be contacted on ekhuft.researchandinnovation@nhs.net.

Research Delivery Teams

We have a number of research delivery teams working across our three main sites, led by our Lead Research Nurse. Details of these teams can be found here.

Our multispecialty teams currently support studies across the NIHR Specialty Areas.

Research Pharmacy Team

Our dedicated research pharmacy team is led by a highly experienced Clinical Trials Pharmacist and supports delivery of CTIMPs across all of our sites. Typically we will open around 15-20 new CTIMPs each year, of which around 50% are commercial-contract studies. At any one time we have approximately active 60 CTIMPs open to recruitment or in follow-up.

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