DOCTORS and nurses in Basingstoke should benefit from a multi-million pound cash boost towards delivering clinical research.

The National Institute for Health Research, NIHR, Clinical Research Network for Wessex, officially launched last week, and it has been awarded £14.8million to develop projects between local hospitals, community care, GP surgeries and other healthcare providers.

The regional group, which is one of 15 across the country, provides funding to hospitals and surgeries in England to pay for scans, nurses, X-rays and other costs associated with clinical research. It covers Hampshire, Dorset, South Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight and is based in Southampton.

Ms Rebecca McKay, the network’s chief operating officer, has managed its transition from the former Hampshire and Isle of Wight Comprehensive Local Research Network, which merged with networks in Dorset and South Wiltshire to form the NIHR Clinical Research Net-work for Wessex.

She said: “I am delighted to be leading the research network to offer more patients the opportunity to access new and innovative treatments and generate new information to help inform and enhance the delivery of services in the NHS.

“The network will recruit more than 30,000 people in important national studies over the next year, so this is a really exciting time for clinicians, researchers and their patients in areas across the south of England.”

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, chief executive of the national NIHR Clinical Research Network, added: “The network has in fact been running for a while, but from April 2014, we will be operating in a new structure that will help us to reach out to even more healthcare providers and patients and really make clinical research a part of the ‘day job’ for the NHS, which is what it should be.”