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Ysbyty Gwynedd doctor awarded for his commitment to research during pandemic

A doctor at Ysbyty Gwynedd has received a special award for his involvement in a key national research trial during the pandemic.

Dr Chris Subbe received the Patient Impact Award at this year’s Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Research & Innovation Excellence Awards.

Ysbyty Gwynedd’s Research & Development Team nominated Dr Subbe for the major part he played in his willingness to undertake the role of Principle Investigator for the RECOVERY trial.

The high profile international research trial opened during the height of the first wave of the pandemic and aims to identify treatments that may be beneficial for people hospitalised with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Wendy Scrase, Clinical Research Specialist Nurse at Ysbyty Gwynedd, said: “Working on the trial has been a positive experience for all staff involved and we are very grateful to Dr Subbe for his contribution to our department.

“The trial certainly gave the research team the opportunity to work with the clinicians at the forefront of care for these types of patients and it also was a great way of introducing newcomers to the principles of research.

“The teams involved in the trial were research nurses, ward nurses, pharmacists, phlebotomists, junior doctors and consultants. In our hospital, many clinicians became incidentally more aware of the work of the Research Department overall, because of the high profile of the RECOVERY trial and Dr Subbe was instrumental at encouraging a wide-ranging number of staff members to get involved.

“The benefit of this trial happening in our hospital meant that patients that were admitted with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 had the chance of access to other treatment options if they gave their consent. Patients expressed a willingness to take part mostly because they wanted to help others in the future, they were truly grateful to have NHS treatment.”

Dr Subbe said he was honoured to work with such a passionate team during this vital trial.

He said: “The RECOVERY trial provided patients in North Wales with as good as a chance to get access to new life-saving treatments as any patient in the United Kingdom.

“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this trial and in particular to Alice Thomas and her team, my consultant colleagues, the juniors who did the training and Laura Longshaw.

“I am honoured and humbled to receive this award but it was a huge team effort and this award recognises the hard work carried out by all involved.”

Runner-up in this category was the Health Board’s Research & Development Team for leading the Novavax Vaccine and Cov-Boost trials that have recruited over 600 participants so far.

Associate Director for Research & Innovation at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Lynne Grundy, added: “We are delighted to recognise our researchers and innovators who are making a real difference to patient care.

“The judges had a very hard job identifying the winners as there is so much good work going on, and the awards are well deserved by all.

“We are now looking forward to offering these awards each year.”

Director of Health and Care Research Wales, Professor Kieran Walshe, said: 

“We want to congratulate Dr Subbe, and thank all our research staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to continue essential research work. We are proud of the efforts staff have made to continue providing world-class care to patients in all disease areas.”