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Essex researcher collects regional award for fight against Covid

Mark Vertue

A medical researcher working on Covid-19 vaccine trials in Essex has collected his prestigious regional award.

Major Mark Vertue, a clinical research nurse and vaccines trial manager at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, has been given the regional NHS Parliamentary Award for Lifetime Achievement in recognition of his long career in medical research.

MPs nominate local heroes from the NHS for this annual award in recognition of the vital work they do for our communities. Mark, from Leigh-on-Sea, attended the ceremony alongside the MP who nominated him, Sir David Amess.

Mark, who has over 40 years in research and nursing, works with specialist doctors to establish research studies into Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, using results to help improve patient care.

This included the Recovery research project; an international clinical trial where nearly 800 patients with Covid-19 in Essex were offered a variety of treatments to help find out which ones helped improve patients’ recovery.

Mark said: “Clinical research is so important; it’s the foundation on which we build tomorrow’s successful treatments, so it is wonderful to be recognised for it at a time when it has been at the forefront of the fight against Covid.

”I’ve been proud to help our Trust take part in research trials that were involved in the discovery of effective treatments. Our team recruited the second highest number of volunteers nationally in the Recovery study, thanks in no small part to the hard work of the research departments across our three hospitals – Basildon, Southend and Broomfield.”

With limits on attendance, Mark’s family watched the event virtually, while he was joined by Dr David Walker, chief medical officer at the Trust.

Dr Walker said: “The research carried out by Mark and his team has directly led to better care for our patients around the world. Our clinicians have worked closely with the research team so we can contribute to international studies that offer better treatments for Covid-19. I am so proud of their groundbreaking work and to see Mark get recognition for his work today.”

Sir David Amess MP said: “Mark has contributed to so much in medical research and beyond throughout his career, and the event today is just a small recognition of his many achievements. I’d like to congratulate him and the fantastic staff in the NHS across Essex.”

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