Research at Oak Tree Surgery and Pensilva Health Centre

We believe it is important to offer our patients the opportunity to benefit from participation in research and have been involved in primary care research for over 20 years. We have a dedicated and enthusiastic research team including 3 doctors, 2 nurses and a healthcare assistant. Oak Tree works as part of group of primary care research teams: the Cornwall Clinical Research Group. We are winners of ‘Embedding Research Culture Award 2019’ and shortlisted for Research Practice Award 2020 (results pending).


Over 20,000 patients and healthy members of the public take part in clinical research in the South West of England each year. A significant number hear about the opportunity to participate in a health research study through their GP and are recruited to a study run by their local practice.

There are rigorous processes in place, including a review by an NHS Research Ethics Committee, to protect the rights, dignity, safety and wellbeing of participants in research. For more information about these standards and how patient information is used in research see

Why do we do research?

Research study participants say benefits of taking part include:

  • Learning more about their health condition and how best to manage it
  • Feeling empowered
  • Access to the very latest treatments
  • Feeling good knowing helping others even if not going to necessarily reap the benefits directly themselves
  • Satisfaction of contributing to medical advances
  • Reassured health care professionals are doing their best for their patients
  • Reassured by closer monitoring of their health condition
  • Research can give hope to people with rare of difficult to treat illnesses


What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are research studies in which people take part in looking at new treatments or approaches to prevention or diagnosis of health conditions to evaluate whether they are safe and effective.

Clinical trials are one stage of long and thorough health research. Trials are carried out in carefully planned phases, allowing researchers to ask and answer questions in a way to provide reliable information in the best interests of the participants.

Trials are an important part of the process the NHS goes through in making decisions about which approaches to prevent, diagnose or treat conditions should be made available to the public.

Research now running at Oak Tree Surgery

  • COVID-19- trial of a medication  to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms - recruiting soon. Anyone 65yrs or older OR  50-64yrs with  current medical condition/s  may  be eligible. Please contact the research team for more information. We can let you know what do if you develop symptoms and would like to be involved
  • Cardiovascular –  2 trials of a new cholesterol lowering therapy
  • Type 2 diabetes and medication for the  prevention of cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes and  the evaluation of a new diabetes treatment
  • Disease Prevention – a vaccine for ‘at risk’ people which may help prevent a potentially serious infection (C.diff) – Participants now involved in follow up
  • COPD – looking at using a beta-blocker to help prevent exacerbations  of COPD. 
  • COPD –effectiveness of an new device in the management of COPD. Recruiting now
  • Infection – trial of a new antibiotic for urinary tract infections in women. Recruiting soon. If you develop a urinary tract infection  and are interested in taking part please contact the research team or ask your doctor/nurse to let us know as soon as possible
  • Infection – trial of new treatment for recurrent vaginal thrush


Examples of completed studies for which we look forward to the results or have received the results

  • Prevention of heart disease – a European wide survey of treatment in primary care
  • Type 2 diabetes – investigation of a medication and its effectiveness in protecting against the progression of kidney and heart failure
  • Dermatology – a new antimicrobial cream for impetigo
  • Cancer – study looking at improving the early diagnosis of bowel and lung cancer
  • Exercise – the use of technology in improving adherence to an exercise plan
  • Rheumatology – assisted Leeds University in evaluating a specific blood test for rheumatoid arthritis. Anyone with a new musculoskeletal pain is possibly eligible
  • Mental Health – a study looking at one-to-one support for people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

Further Information

For further information about these studies or if you would like to be involved please contact:

  • Kathryn Beck   – Research Nurse/Coordinator
  • Dr Rehan Symonds – Principle Investigator
  • Dr Samuel Trethewey – Sub-Investigator
  • Dawn Diprose- Research Nurse
  • Gillian Besley  - Research Healthcare Assistant


To find out what clinical research studies are running nationally visit This is a  national database held by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which is the research arm of the NHS



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