A survey of clinicians and researchers across the UK was conducted to identify barriers to research and potential solutions. The authors extracted details of studies listed on the UKCRN database that involved paediatric ophthalmology with recruitment of children. An e-survey was sent out to evaluate researchers’ experiences. Forty two studies were identified – 26 active and 16 closed / suspended. Four added studies were identified from searching other speciality group database entries. Eighteen studies were based in London and the remainder elsewhere in the UK (Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester and Southampton). Most addressed phenotype / genotype and observation studies. Four were RCTs. A survey was distributed to research teams with 51 returns relating to 23 of the 46 studies. Ninety-two percent had or were involved in UKCRN portfolio studies. Thirty-nine percent of responses were from site principal investigators. Seventy-eight percent were based at tertiary referral centres. Sixty percent confirmed recruitment was to target. Experience, presence, motivation and availability of a designated research team were the strongest facilitators for recruitment. Family attitudes toward taking interventional medications or placebos or preference for a treatment were the strongest barriers. Administrative difficulties such as opening sites and burden of additional visits or investigations were also strong barriers. Improvements in support, time, space, communication, protocols, patient and public involvement, and ethical / NHS approval / administration would improve recruitment. 

Delivering clinical trials and observation studies in child eye health: a nationwide survey in the UK.
Banteka M, Tailor U, Dalmann-Noar A.
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Fiona Rowe (Prof)

Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool, UK.

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