Patients & Visitors

Older People's Unit

Research & Audit

Current OPU Research Studies

The Older People's Unit in Bath Royal United Hospital believes that involvement in high quality research is beneficial for patients, clinicians and the wider population.

We aim to increase and promote opportunities for participation for older people who have historically been under-represented in clinical trials.

Bone Health


An international placebo controlled study to examine whether this muscle receptor antibody reduces muscle loss and improve rehabilitation after hip fracture. The RUH is the only UK site and has recruited 3 patients to this year-long study.

Web link:

Muscular Frailty (Sarcopenia)


This study, run from Dundee, is looking at whether a combination of an amino-acid dietary supplement and a commonly used drug Perindopril (an ‘ACE inhibitor’) could improve muscle strength in those who have become physically frail.
Web link:

Parkinson’s Disease

PRoBaND (‘Tracking Parkinson’s’) and PD-Pain

PRoBaND is a prospective, observational, multi-centre study run from Glasgow involving PD gene testing in patients with recent onset PD and first degree relatives of patients with recent onset or young (under 50 years) onset PD, comparing relatives of gene test positive patients, with relatives of gene test negative patients. PRoBaND is the largest and most detailed prospective study of PD in the UK. The RUH has also recruited subjects to a sub-study looking at pain experiences in Parkinson’s.
Since its inception two further study extensions have been granted making this an 8 year study. Recruitment has closed and all 46 RUH participants are in follow up.

Web link:


This study is looking at Simvastatin as a neuroprotective treatment for Parkinson’s disease: it is a double-blind, randomised, placebo controlled study in patients of moderate severity. It is run from Plymouth and aims to recruit 198 patients.

This is one of a number of studies backed by the Cure Parkinson’s trust, aimed at exploring whether any drugs used for other purposes may also reduce the progression of PD.  The Royal United has recruited 6 patients so far to this study, which follows up subjects over 26 months.

Web link:


This is a study of a new monoamine oxidase inhibitor called safinimide, used in Parkinson’s Disease. It is a commercial European multi-centre retrospective-prospective cohort study to observe safinamide’s safety profile and pattern of use in clinical practice during the first post-commercialization phase. The study will last 36 months, including a 24 month enrolment period and a 12 month follow up period.

This study is open to recruitment. The RUH was the first UK site to recruit a patient to this study.

Web link (not specific)


Opicapone is a new catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) inhibitor. This is a prospective, open-label, uncontrolled, single-group multi-centre trial evaluating the changes in subjects Parkinson’s disease with wearing-off motor fluctuations after 3 months of treatment with Opicapone 50mg once daily.

Recruitment will commence in July 2017.

Web link;

Skin Metabolites in PD – PD-Smell

This study, run from Manchester, seeks to detect and identify compounds on the skin of PD sufferers, perhaps leading to an early diagnostic test.  It was inspired by a woman who is able to detect a unique body odour from people with PD. Treatment-naïve new PD patients will consent to having a skin swab taken for analysis.

This study is open for recruitment. (another hospital’s webpage) or

PD Med

A large multi-centre randomised assessment of the relative clinical and cost effectiveness of classes of drugs used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease.

This study has been running at the RUH for 12 years. It is in follow up only.

Studies in set up


This longitudinal study is looking at patients with syndromes known as ‘Parkinson’s Plus’ or Atypical Parkinsonism syndromes; Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Corticobasal Syndrome and Multisystem Atrophy.

As a centre we shall identify potential patients through clinic appointments and will ask patients who wish to consent to the study, to donate blood for DNA purposes. Patients will also be given copies of questionnaires to complete and return to study centre.  This will give valuable information in these rarer conditions.



RCP Falls and Fragility Fracture Audit Program (FFFAP)

The Royal United Hospital makes monthly submissions to the RCP Falls and fragility fracture audit programme (FFFAP) which includes the National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD)


Within the FFFAP the RUH has recently contributed to the National Inpatient Audit of Falls (  and we have submitted facilities audit data and patient level date to the Fracture Liaison Service Database(FLS-DB)


Data from the NFHD and FLS-DB contribute to annual reports commissioned by Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP). These data are also available and are used by research groups around the country to answer specific falls and fractures related research questions aimed at improving the quality of care.
Locally the NHFD make available dynamic charts for key performance indicators which allow us to monitor our performance.

UK Parkinson’s Audit

The UK Parkinson’s Audit is a biannual audit looking at the state of Parkinson’s services across the UK.  It covers all areas of service provision, including medical (covering both elderly care and neurology services, and nurse specialist services), physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.  It is run with the support of Parkinson’s UK.

The 2015 UK Parkinson's Audit gave the biggest ever picture of the state of Parkinson's services, showcasing good practice but highlighting many areas for improvement.  It was the first to include a Patient Reported Experience Measure (PREM), giving people with Parkinson's a stronger voice in rating the services they receive.

OPU runs two local Parkinson’s services covering Bath and North-east Somerset and Wiltshire.  We see patients of all ages, not just older patients.  Both services participated fully in the 2015 audit, and the summary report can be found here:

Two of our consultants, Dr Sara Evans and Dr Veronica Lyell, sit on the national Clinical Steering group for the audit, and produced the latest report.

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