MORE than 600 Worcestershire patients have taken part in trials to find a treatment to beat Covid-19 - the virus that has killed more than 250 people in the county's hospitals, including two beloved nurses.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is participating in national studies on potential treatments and improving knowledge of the virus.

So far, over 600 patients with suspected or confirmed coronavirus in the county have taken part in these trials.

Today on International Nurses Day the trust remembered Jodon Gait and Julie Omar, who died of Covid-19.

The trust says trial data is being reviewed regularly so that any effective treatment can be identified quickly and made available to all patients. New, promising drugs can quickly be added into the trial.

Emma Rowan, research operations lead at the trust said: “The government has been clear that it is research that offers us hope to end the pandemic and it has been critical to their response.

“We are a crucial part of this nationally coordinated effort and are currently prioritising Covid-19 research to create the capacity to support as many of these important trials as possible.

“I would like to thank our research and frontline colleagues across the Trust for their enthusiasm and hard work in setting up and recruiting patients into studies, many of whom are working differently and going above and beyond, as well as the hundreds of patients who have already taken part in Covid-19 studies across the Trust.”

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens thanked nurses earlier, for all they have done during the greatest global health emergency in NHS history.

Sir Simon also called on universities to increase the number of nursing course places.

The NHS Health Careers website has seen a 220 per cent rise in people expressing an interest in becoming a nurse, since the pandemic began.

Sir Simon said: “On International Nurses Day the whole country will want to come together to thank nurses who are working so hard to save and rebuild lives in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The biggest global health emergency in a century has put a huge spotlight on the crucial role of nurses not just in the NHS but also in social care.

“We have seen three generations of nurses pitching in to help, not just our current fantastic staff but also retired nurses coming back and student nurses beginning their careers early.

“And looking out across the years ahead we know we are going to need many more nurses.

“So this is an opportunity not just to thank our current nurses but also to invite bright and brilliant and committed people across the country to consider nursing as a career.”