12th December 2017

Musgrove cancer consultant wins national award for her research

A cancer consultant based at Musgrove Park Hospital has won a national award for working tirelessly to further improve treatments for patients with breast, bladder, prostate and renal cancer through research.

Dr Mohini Varughese, consultant clinical oncologist at the Beacon Centre, part of Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, attended the recent Harveian Oration at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) where she was presented an award for her ‘outstanding’ research leadership in the NHS which has consequently improved access to clinical trials for local patients.

The joint awards from the RCP and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network recognise outstanding contributions of NHS consultants and trainees who are active in research.

Dr Varughese, who is also the uro-oncology sub specialty lead for the NIHR in the South West, balances her research with a busy clinical workload and currently oversees 31 trials.

She said:

“I was delighted to have received this award. I see this award as recognition for the dedication of the teams I work with to be able to provide clinical trials to our breast and uro-oncology patients.

The Beacon centre is a relatively new cancer centre, opening in 2009, and we have been able to work to ensure that considering clinical trials are integral to routine care for our patients.

The successes we have had in terms of recruitment are testament to all staff groups (nurses, radiographers, physicists as well as medics) striving to continually improve the standard of care for our cancer patients.

I see it as essential that our patients have equitable access to clinical trials for all stages of their disease, to facilitate access to emerging therapies and technologies as well as enabling staff to learn about these new treatments within the strict governance framework of a trials protocol.”

Applicants were required to outline their contribution to the leadership of several NIHR clinical studies with a particular focus on how they demonstrate clinical leadership enabling their organisation to increase its participation in clinical studies; how they engaged with patients to inform them of new opportunities to participate in clinical research; and their contribution to successful delivery of clinical research studies.

On the award winners, Royal College of Physicians academic vice president, Professor Margaret Johnson, said:

“Founded two years ago, this award recognises the outstanding contributions of NHS clinicians to the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio.

The clinicians who have received this award are all worthy winners and their outstanding contribution to research within the NHS is a credit to our profession.

In such tough times for the NHS it is great to see that such passion and dedication can still break through. I look forward to seeing their continued work and their outcomes in the years to come.”