What difficulties have been overcome?
As with any collaboration of clinicians working in different trusts there have been difficulties to overcome. Initially the network was driven forwards by a small number of enthusiastic individuals, with tacit support from the wider endoscopy community. However as NREG has gathered momentum and begun to bear fruit there is now enthusiastic input from a wide range of clinicians. The close friendship between gastroenterologists and surgeons across the region, with lack of one specific endoscopy “power base” proved useful in ensuring that all units felt that this was a true collaborative network.
A second major hurdle has been the complex structure of research in the UK. The process can be hard to understand and there is a very steep learning curve to be climbed, even for those who have previously participated in research. Patience and persistence has been required. The NREG network has proven invaluable in sharing the burden and helping each other through the regulations. The network has been helped by the newly established Comprehensive Research Networks and by Professor Mark Hull on behalf of the BSG research committee.
Currently the group is run on a voluntary basis relying on the goodwill of enthusiasts. In order to more effectively progress and run collaborative studies, resources are required to provide time for individuals to undertake research. A number of funding options are currently being pursued.