26th February 2021

Celebrating Good Clinical Practice: reflecting on a decade of training in Wales

In November 2020, Lynette Lane, the Support and Delivery Centre’s Senior Training and Development Manager, was recognised by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for 10 years of facilitating Good Clinical Practice training in Wales.

Good Clinical Practice (GCP) is an international ethical and scientific quality standard for all Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (CTIMPs). These are clinical trials that test new medicines and treatments, like vaccines, on the public.

When a clinical trial is compliant with GCP, the rights of the people who participate are protected and the study results are credible. It is a legal requirement that any research staff involved in CTIMPs must have GCP training.

For Lynette, the years have flown by.

“Looking back, those ten years passed by really quickly. I have trained literally thousands of staff in that time,” said Lynette.

Lynette first took on the role of Training Facilitator in September 2009. At that time GCP training was mostly delivered by external commercial trainers and only a few of these expensive yet essential trainers were available in the UK.

To tackle this situation, the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) training team created the Facilitator Development Programme, which aimed to give more people across the UK the skills they need to train health researchers in GCP.

Lynette said: “Luckily, a few of us from Wales got places on the first NIHR programme. It was a very snowy February day when I caught the train to Wakefield to begin the training. It was an extensive course over several days and we were all given a great deal of resources, guidance and support.”

Soon after they’d completed the NIHR programme, Lynette and her colleague, Hayley Tapping from Betsi Cadwalladr University Health Board started planning the first introduction to GCP training session in Wales. They invited a group of delegates to the Blanco’s Hotel in Port Talbot. So how did Lynette feel delivering that first session?

“I think the term is terrified! I was preparing to deliver this training to my peers and I did fear that I would get it wrong,” said Lynette.

“Fortunately, it went really well. I used up a lot of adrenaline doing it but it was worth it!”

For Lynette and the team, that was the start. Working closely with the NIHR CRN training team, they then adapted the Facilitator Development Programme for Wales. The team have been offering this training for new facilitators ever since, which means there are now GCP trainers available locally across Wales.

Lynette said: “I have learned a lot over the years. How to handle a room of my peers and how to keep up to date with regulatory and governance changes. But it hasn’t always gone to plan.

“We’ve arrived at venues and rooms have been locked. There have been problems with transport or with delegate resources not being delivered to the venue in time. Sometimes people come to the training thinking they know it all already. In each session, you get ‘the talkers’ and the ‘I’m not joining in’ people. As a facilitator though, your role is to reach everyone and give them a good learning experience, no matter how long or in what capacity they’ve been working in research.

“Always by the end, the training sessions are a joy. To be thanked by people or to get an unexpected round of applause. It’s those moments that make the hard work worth it. I love the challenge and the variety. It’s great to be sharing knowledge and experience.”

As well as growing face-to-face training across Wales, GCP training has also been made available online, with further plans for training through webinars. This was particularly important in 2020 as the focus was training researchers working on COVID-19 studies. So far, the team has delivered 264 GCP training courses and trained 4,921 delegates. From 2015 to 2020, 97% of delegates rated the training as good or excellent.

Lynette said: “I’m extremely proud of the way we launched GCP training in Wales and how it’s grown in this time. Demand for this and other training has increased dramatically as Welsh health and care research has increased. It was a lovely touch to be recognised by NIHR for my ten years as a GCP facilitator. I’m very proud of that too.”

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