Trial coordinator for Manchester Mike Fitzsimmons shares his reflections on meeting this momentous milestone.
When I started in post on the Avatar trial, it was the commitment and enthusiasm across all four sites to work together that was most noticeable. It was clear that all the varied aspects of running a successful trial had not only been considered but also the practicalities of what was needed to make this happen. This ranged from: the set-up of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) groups and the development of PPI consultants; the training and supervision of therapists delivering Avatar therapy; the management of the trial across four distinct sites; the promotion of the trial across the participating NHS Trusts; and the recruitment of people that are interested and willing to participate in the trial.
Between January and September 2021, across all four sites, 100 participants consented to take part in AVATAR2. This was achieved by the commitment and tenacity of our Research Workers. Also, in September, five Research Workers were successful in securing places on Clinical Psychology Doctorate courses. Whilst it is always encouraging to see our highly skilled colleagues progress towards their chosen careers, their success meant that we lost over half of the total Research Worker staff group.
We successfully recruited replacements and with the support of and collaboration with the remaining Research Workers our new staff have competently taken on the role and responsibilities required to continue to meet AVATAR2 milestones. With a sense of pride and achievement, it is a pleasure to share that we are now more than halfway towards reaching our final target of 348.
Reaching this milestone reflects the positive contribution of all the AVATAR2 team, both past and present in continuing to support people to access the trial, within a National Health Service that has faced unprecedented challenges.
I would like to thank everyone in the AVATAR2 team for their contribution so far.