UK Trial Managers’ Network Annual Meeting Tuesday 10 October 2017


I attended the UK TMN Annual Meeting this week. I’ve been to several of the workshops/talks run by UK TMN (which I’ve always found useful), but this was my first annual meeting. The meeting consisted of several talks by external speakers, and a break out session where we were divided up into different workshops.

Alison McDonald and Barbara Farrell welcomed us to the meeting, and discussed the membership fee. We were asked what we thought were the most useful aspects of being a fully-paid member of the UK TMN, and we had the opportunity to note these down on flipcharts during the break. They also asked us what resources (aside from what is provided by UK TMN) that we used for guidance in our roles. There is due to be a new edition of the UK TMN Guide – volunteers to proof-read this were requested!

Particular highlights: HRA update/workshop and Shaun Treweek’s talk about running streamlined trials.

HRA Update
Chris Cannaby, Head of Assessment and Assurance from the HRA, provided us with an update. It was interesting to hear their side of the story regarding the huge backlog of submissions they faced when the HRA first came in to play last year. Apparently, they initially hired 4 people to deal with this backlog, which they increased to around 30 people practically overnight once they realised what they were up against.
Points to note from the update:
• There is a new version of the HRA website which is supposedly much easier to use . They were particularly proud of their new amendments guidance flow chart – I’ll let you decide for yourselves.They welcomed any feedback.
• Although they couldn’t give a timeline for this, in the future IRAS is going to be revamped with functionality to use it as a document repository; R&D departments would be able to log in and view your trial documents rather than us having to send them out. Sounds remarkably like CSP but that’s none of my business.
• During the workshop session, they essentially opened the floor to us for questioning/grilling. The main theme of the queries was confusion regarding amendment submissions (it’s not just me then), and that the process for submitting approvals to devolved administrations for England-led studies is far from straight forward.

Streamlined/efficient trials
Shaun Treweek, who leads the Trial Forge initiative, gave a really interesting talk on how to run streamlined and efficient trials. We all love a good SWAT here at OCTRU, and he talked us through a few interesting examples of how you can make very small – and zero cost/effort - changes to your trial methodology and still have a notable impact on recruitment and retention.

I always enjoy hearing the experiences and expertise of other trial managers, and this combined with the interesting talks made it a very useful day. It was very well-run by the team, and best wishes to Ruth in her retirement.