THE close relationship between the NHS and Oxford’s world-famous university has kept the city at the cutting edge of patient care and treatment for many years.

From the first clinical trials of penicillin at the old Radcliffe Infirmary in 1941 by Howard Florey (seven years before the NHS was founded), to Sir Richard Doll, the scientist who first established a link between smoking and lung cancer during the 1950s, the city has historically been at the forefront of medical advancement

Through these discoveries and many more, millions of NHS patients have benefitted.

With the NHS now turning 70, retaining and indeed enhancing this relationship is key, according to director of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), Keith Channon.

Professor Channon said gone are the days when scientists would cycle alone from their labs to the hospital clinics with their new drugs in a suitcase.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) is now intertwined with the university allowing seamless transition from labs to clinics at a swifter pace.

Prof Channon, who is also a professor of cardiovascular sciences at Oxford University and a consultant cardiologist at OUH, said: “In the last 10 or 20 years the scale and scope of the partnership has really changed.

“Many of the buildings within the hospital are owned and funded by the university.

“You have NHS consultants and top researchers working side by side and that’s fundamental to how we advance medical science.”

Currently many of the vaccines used to combat diseases like Ebola and HIV are generated in Oxford while cutting edge genomics research being carried out in Oxford could lead to quicker diagnosis of diseases such as diabetes.

And almost 80 years since the clinical uses of penicillin were discovered by Florey and his team, the city is now leading the fight to tackle antimicrobial resistance by looking to create vaccines to protect against such infections.

Professor of microbiology at the NIHR Oxford BRC Derrick Crook explained new funding announced this week had allowed the purchase of new equipment to better analyse samples to better understand antibiotic resistance.

He said: “This is a step change.

“We’re going from a place where it’s all been very approximate, to a situation where it’s all becoming very precise, and that’s going to allow us to make real strides.”