RESEARCH: The board of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust has agreed to become part of a north London academic health science centre.

The east London acute trust decided to join UCL Partners at its April board meeting.

The £408m-turnover trust was the last NHS provider in the north central and north east london primary care trust cluster areas to join.

The new Barts Health Trust, also in east London, with a turnover of £1.1bn, joined the centre in October, along with Queen Mary, University of London.

Academic health science centres are partnerships between universities and NHS trusts that aim to improve clinical and research outcomes. There are five nationally and two others in London, centred around Imperial College London and King’s College.

UCL Partners managing director David Fish said the decision to invite the trust to join had been unanimous among existing members.

Professor Fish said: “I am delighted that Barking, Havering and Redbridge’s board accepted the invitation formally to join UCL Partners.

“[The trust] is an extremely important part of London’s health system, treating 10 per cent of London’s cancer with one of the busiest emergency departments in the capital.”

He said UCL Partners was already working with the trust on cancer, stroke and education programmes.

Barking’s chief executive Averil Dongworth said the move “will provide the trust with excellent opportunities to take forward projects which could make a real difference to the health of people living in this area”.

Ms Dongworth said she hoped improvements to the cancer system would see patients diagnosed earlier and given more opportunity to take part in clinical trials.