‘LET them eat cake’ was the call at an event promoting clinical trials at Dorset County Hospital.

The Dorchester hospital’s research and development team set up a stand to mark International Clinical Trials Day and found a novel way of introducing staff and visitors to the hospital to the procedures involved in its trials.

The ‘hungry for cake’ trial at a stand set up in the Damers Restaurant saw people asked a series of questions about their eligibility, just as they would before a clinical trial, before they were invited to sample one of two batches of cakes.

They were then asked to fill in a feedback form, which again reflected the procedures of trials at the hospital, asking them about the impact of the cake they had just eaten on their hunger.

Research and development co-ordinator Chris Miller said: “This covers a lot of things that we do in a lot of clinical trials on a very simplistic level.

“It gets the key message across and it’s a good illustration and good fun.”

There was also a ‘guess how many sweets are in the jar’ competition, with the number of sweets representing just how many trials are going on at the hospital at the moment.

Over the last year the research and team has recruited over 755 patients to take part in more than 150 projects.

Mr Miller said the work provided valuable information to inform clinical procedures and was a rapidly increasing area at the hospital.

He said: “Over the last four or five years we have increased our level of research here by a huge margin, maybe eight or nine-fold.

“It used to be largely focused on cancer but we are now doing a number of clinical areas and I still think there is room for further expansion.”

Another aim of the stand was to raise the profile of the research and development department amongst hospital staff to increase knowledge, confidence and enthusiasm for participation in clinical research.

Mr Miller said overall the stand had been very well received.

He said: “People are interested and I think it’s been a good idea.”

For more information about research projects at Dorset County Hospital, call 01305 255298.