Clinical trials unit dedicated to medical research opens at QEQM in Margate

The new clinical trials unit

by Liz Crudgington 

A unit dedicated to medical research has opened at the QEQM Hospital in Margate.

The clinical trials unit was funded by donations to East Kent Hospitals Charity from Hornby Hobbies and the Freemasons of Thanet and was officially opened by Tracey Fletcher, chief executive of East Kent Hospitals.

It will benefit patients across Kent, meaning people will no longer need to travel to London to take part in trials of the latest drugs or medical devices.

Chief executive Tracey Fletcher and Jess Evans, director of research and innovation, at the new unit

The £1.6 million unit was created from an old ward and has four beds, its own pathology suite, clinical rooms, and offices. It will host both major commercial studies such as trials of new drugs, as well as home-grown research led by Trust clinicians.

Ms Fletcher said: “I have only been here for 12 weeks but this is my second opening. It is a real privilege to be involved in the end-of-project phases like this.

“The real value of this facility is that it operates across Kent and Medway, bringing people together, building relationships and helping more people, not just in east Kent.

“It is a great environment and will provide amazing opportunities for research collaboration.”

She thanked the research team, particularly director of research and innovation Jess Evans, as well as external partners and donors.

Ms Evans said: “People say the best way to test a team is to put them in a difficult situation and that’s what happened with Covid.

“We knew then that we could deliver complex research projects, but we didn’t have the facility or the staff.

“It is really exciting to have this new unit and to be able to deliver for more patients and change their outcomes.”

Ms Evans thanked the Trust’s board for their support, as well as the strategy team and build team.

She added: “I will be forever grateful to our sponsors, Hornby and the local Masons, for supporting patients and staff in this hospital.”

And she paid a special tribute to Sharon Turney, the unit’s co-ordinator, for her role in making it a reality.

The research and innovation team in the new unit

The opening was attended by members of the Trust’s board, as well as representatives from Hornby and the Masons, and from the Kent and Medway Medical School, University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.

Delegates from Pharmacare, who were involved in the unit’s first official study, investigating whether Sambucol black elderberry liquid could lessen the symptoms of Covid-19, were also there. Results from the trial are expected later this year.

Trish Singh, head of marketing at Pharmacare Europe, said: “We are delighted to be the first study officially hosted by the new clinical trials unit.

“The Berry study is very close to our hearts and we are eagerly awaiting the trial results to see what benefits patients found from using Sambucol black elderberry liquid.”

Dee Neligan, senior charity officer for East Kent Hospitals Charity, said it was fantastic to see the unit become a reality.

She said: “We have been overwhelmed with the support from our local communities for this project.

“Hornby Hobbies donated the proceeds from the sales of their limited-edition Captain Tom locomotive, which was used to fund the clinical area, and the Freemasons of Thanet were supported by the Kent Freemasons Charity and the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Their donation was used for the pathology suite.

“We are hugely grateful to everyone who has supported this unit and look forward to hearing more about the research that will take place here and the many ways it will benefit people across Kent.”


  1. “Medical Research”🤔
    Boys from Brazil anyone? The sort of announcement that would ring alarm bells at Amnesty International, if it was from Xinjiang or the Global South. Of course, Thanet is one of the poorest areas of the U.K.🤔
    This should worry any thinking person… who doesn’t own shares in a pharmaceutical corporation!
    Unfortunately, with the massive China-funded W.H.O. propaganda blitzkrieg of the past twenty-six months. Abley supported by our own hypochondriac, agoraphobic, postmodern troglodyte technocrats. “Informed Consent” is so twentieth century!

    • This is absolute nonsense.
      Clinical trials are very strictly regulated in this country.
      It’s excellent that there is investment in QEQM.
      Stop spreading conspiracy nonsense, Harry Webb.

    • What are you getting het up about? Surely you would want any drugs/ treatments tested before you took them? How do you think the drug development process works?
      I hope you don’t ever need medical help for anything, because any medical intervention would have undergone extensive testing before approval for use.

    • You’re right Harry. Look at the millions of adverse reactions to the recent rushed-to -the-market experimental gene therapy across the world, recorded in official public health stats (with good doctors commenting how hard it is to make these reports). Let alone the many deaths and strangely appearing sudden adult death syndrome and deaths of many sports people. Covid jabbed adverse reaction sufferers getting little help speak out here Pfizer covid trial documents had to be released in the US recently. They wanted them sealed for 75 years. They make grim reading and suggest the experiment was the opposite of safe.

      • Instead of cutting and pasting this rubbish from whichever strange web site you subscribe to, why not simply paste up the link?
        Then sad people, wallowing in the misery of their semi-basement flats, can indulge themselves to their hearts’ content without wasting space here.

        I’ve noticed, across various social media platforms, a recent rush of references to the new-meme-on-the-block: “Sudden Adult Death Syndrome”. No one knows what it means, but it sounds really good.

        • Thank you for that ANDREW now I know that I quote ( wallow in sadness) I must do because I reside in a (basement flat) how narrowly conceited you are.

  2. Why should the words “medical research” ring alarm bells”? The more medical research there is here in Britain, the better.

  3. You have to ask?
    Isn’t there sufficient information already in my post?
    Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself who you trust blindly and why.

  4. Bearing in mind all the adverse publicity, etc. that’s haunted the QEQM for at least a decade already?

    • No. The OP says:
      “It will benefit patients across Kent, meaning people will no longer need to travel to London to take part in trials of the latest drugs or medical devices.”

  5. Created from an old ward? Let me guess which one…..was it the old Fordwich stroke unit? Or maybe it was part of the physiotherapy unit? Maybe they should be funding services like much needed hydrotherapy and stroke units before investing in their replacements. Beggars belief.

    • I’m with jj on this.As Doctor Frankenstien stroked his beard he thought l know the very place.Thanet!

  6. With such a shoddy history of patient care and so many baby deaths attributional to bad practice would anyone fancy being a guinea pig in this hospital. I mean they seriously need to get their act in order with the drugs they know about first 🤦‍♀️

  7. I am sorry that you can only see the negative about the hospital. I know there have been problems, but unfortunately a lot of people only speak up when they have had a poor experience. What about the multitudes of lives that have been saved or improved there ?
    My hubby probably would have died if it wasn’t for Dr Jess Evans and her team when he had his bowel cancer op, and that wad because he was taking part in a clinical trial at QEQM.

  8. How many former inpatients of the Q.E.Q.M. whose death certificates recorded COVID as the cause of death had been intubated for reasons that previous good practice guidance would have forbidden its use for? All on the basis of hierarchical “guidance” from a Chinese-funded/controlled W.H.O. Supported by a handful of dubious Chinese evidence.
    “One can fight one hundred battles and win one one hundred victories, but the real Art of War is to subdue your enemy without striking a blow!”

    Sun Tzu (“The Art of War”)

    In two years, the Chinese Communist Party has done more damage to Western Capitalism than a far more violent Soviet Union did in seventy!

    “… My style? You can call it the art of fighting without fighting.”

    Bruce (Sui Lung) Lee (Enter the Dragon)

  9. A degree of scepticism is always a good idea where our health is concerned. If I had the chance to take part in a clinical trial I’d do my research, ask a lot of questions, weigh it all up as carefully as I possibly could.

    What I probably wouldn’t do is cite Bruce Lee.

    12 years ago I got extremely ill with a condition that can be very disabling. Couldn’t leave the house, barely able to move, couldn’t stay awake. Fortunately a new type of drug was available and I’m one of the lucky ones who it has helped considerably. I can work, I can run, I’m fine.

    I didn’t want to take any kind of drug let something so new but obviously I’m glad I did. I’m still involved in a clinical trial which simply means that blood samples are used for research.

    I reckon Jj makes the best point though. If a prestigious, money-grubbing research programme is favoured over vital provision like stroke services and good physiotherapy, then yes we should be concerned.

    • The overwhelming problem is that for decades governments (and I include New Labour) have messed about with the structure of the NHS to make it resemble a financial institution rather than a health facility; under funded it; diverted what money there was away from clinical and medical services into administration.
      The current government is hell-bent on turning the NHS into something resembling the American model (which is one of the worst in the Western World, if you compare cost with outcomes)

  10. It is difficult to see how they can add more workload to a hospital which is struggling to keep up with current demand. Surely you need to get what is at the hospital working well first? It is currently trying to work at over its capacity and failing to give the care to patients. Get it running well first then add peripheral services.

  11. I have tinnitus, vestibular neuriotus, migrainus vertigo.
    I had this for 6 years but it is getting worse and it is now very disabiliting

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