The UK Trial Managers’ Network (UKTMN) was developed in response to concerns expressed by publicly-funded trial managers, and others involved in clinical trials. It was apparent that many of the people responsible for the day to day management of publicly-funded clinical trials were not receiving the necessary training and support to allow them to effectively and efficiently deliver trials on time and within budget. The main funding bodies in the UK worked jointly to develop a programme of training for trial managers and a forum in which trial managers could receive relevant and timely support and share experience and expertise.
In 1998 resources were made available for this initiative within the MRC Health Services Research Collaboration (HSRC) to establish a secretariat for the UKTMN. An invitation was sent to all principal investigators and trial managers on the MRC Trials Directory requesting information on the person responsible for the day to day management of the trial and this formed the database of trial managers responsible for the management of the majority of publicly-funded trials.
Over the past decade conducting trials has become more complex. There has been a substantial increase in national and international regulations and guidelines which impact on clinical trials. Many trials now attempt to answer additional scientific questions in addition to the primary one of treatment effectiveness. Trial managers have attempted to keep up with these changing, and often complex demands. The benefits of consolidating a body of knowledge and expertise not specifically covered in other disciplines became apparent. For example, a neurosurgeon has no need to be familiar with the detail of the Health and Social Care Act until he/she proposes to follow up participants in a clinical trial long term. Lack of knowledge of the requirements of this Act can jeopardise a major trial from the onset. However, an experienced trial manager would be aware of the requirements of the regulations applicable to the trial and ensure that the trial could proceed within the regulations and deliver successfully. For an in experienced trial manager the Network would provide both an information source for issues raised in the day-to-day running of a trial and a forum for exchange of knowledge.
Proposed activities of the Network are to provide workshops in all aspects of trial management designed and run by people with substantial experience of running clinical trials; a website with discussion forums, latest news, a career centre; a resource library; an annual meeting of trial managers and a platform to enable trial managers across the UK to share best practice.
o Easy communication
o Knowledge exchange
o Problem solving
o Training and support
o Career development
o Professional accreditation
o Research on research (SWATs)