SOUTHAMPTON-based health organisations are leading the way in pioneering research.

According to new figures, a number of the south’s NHS Trusts are among those undertaking increasing numbers of studies to improve treatment for patients.

Most prolific is University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Southampton General Hospital, which carried out 345 studies in the last year.

This is an increase from 306 in 2012/2013.

The trust is among more than half of the NHS Trusts across the country that have all increased the number of clinical research studies undertaken in the last year.

Southampton-based Solent NHS Trust has done 36 studies in the last year, compared to 15 the previous year, and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has done 32, two more than in 2012.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, undertook 86 studies last year and 76 in 2012/2013.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth carried out 143 studies in 2013/14, an increase from 137 in 2012/13 The data, from April 2013 to March 2014, comes from a national database of studies, which is supported by the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Clinical Research Network.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network recruited more than 630,000 patients nationally for clinical studies in 2012/13, a seven per cent increase on the previous year.

It said clinical research was a vital part of the work of the NHS as it provides evidence about what works so that treatments for patients can be improved.

It adds that there is evidence to show that patients do better in hospitals and surgeries that take part in research.

Jonathan Sheffield, chief executive officer of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: “It’s great to see a real appetite for research in Southampton.

We know that research is something that patients really value and these trusts are creating the opportunities for patients to get involved.”

He added that all the patients who have taken part in research will have contributed to improving NHS treatments for everyone.