NHS England supports official request to increase the number of PrEP trial places
14th January 2019
NHS England have released the below media statement regarding the PrEP Impact Trial, announcing that they will support a request made by the trial researchers to double the number of available places. This would increase the number of participants to the end of the trial in 2020 from 13,000 to up to 26,000. The full NHS England media statement can be accessed online here.
Commenting on NHS England’s announcement, Dr Olwen Williams, President of BASHH said:
“We welcome this development and fully support the request to roll out PrEP on a wider basis as quickly as possible. Ultimately BASHH believe that PrEP should be made routinely available on the NHS to all those who need it. It is also essential that the extension of the PrEP trial is accompanied by new funding, as sexual health services in England are currently at tipping point following years of damaging public health budget cuts in the face of growing demand.”
NHS England media statement
Implementation of the PrEP Impact trial has been a huge success with over 10,000 participants already enrolled in this important HIV prevention measure.
But, the speed of recruitment and demand for PrEP has significantly exceeded initial expert predictions and the trial researchers now consider that more places should be made available. They argue that recruitment needs to reach a “steady state’ in order to ensure the trial can robustly and scientifically inform the design and rollout of a full national programme in partnership with local authorities. They have also said that the increase will be important for addressing emerging questions from the trial about the need for PrEP amongst women and other groups.
As a result, an official request has been made by the researchers to increase the number of participants to the end of the trial in 2020 from 13,000 to up to 26,000.
NHS England is supportive of the researchers’ proposal and will play its part by committing to fund additional places in line with existing trial funding arrangements.
Implementation of the detailed proposal submitted by the researchers will be considered later this month by the Trial Oversight Board, which includes representatives from Public Health England, local authorities and community groups, alongside NHS England.
John Stewart, Director of Specialised Commissioning at NHS England said:
“Through the PrEP trial, over 10,000 people are already receiving access to this important HIV prevention measure. The trial researchers have submitted a case for increasing trial places and NHS England will play its part in delivering on this recommendation by committing to fund additional places in line with existing funding arrangements. This will help ensure the learning from the trial is robust enough to fully inform the planning of a national PrEP programme in partnership with local authorities for the future, as well as protecting more people from HIV right now”.
It will continue to be for individual local authorities to decide how many additional places they wish to take up and to give the green light to clinics to expand recruitment.