Health researchers pay Newham residents a fiver for their poo

Study will contribute to understanding of bacteria that live in our gut

Study will contribute to understanding of bacteria that live in our gut - Credit: Archant

Some residents could soon be a little more “flush” after earning a fiver for a sample of their poo!

Patients at three of the borough’s GP surgeries are being asked to volunteer to collect their stools for a scientific study-and as an incentive they are being offered £5.

The study being conducted by researchers for Public Health England is looking at different bacteria in the gut and how common the bacteria is in the community.

A handful of specially selected locations across the country have been chosen to take part and Newham was picked because it is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in England.

The GP surgeries participating are St Bartholomew’s in Barking Road East Ham, the Lathom Road Medical Centre in East Ham and the Stratford village surgery in Romford Road.

Dr Cliodna McNulty, a consultant microbiologist at PHE and chief investigator for the study, said:“Projects like this are very important and enable us to find out which bacteria are in circulation with the potential to cause illness.

“The bacteria in the gut are very important markers for this and this is why we need a stool sample to look for them.”

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She admits some may find obtaining a poo sample unpleasant but says its easy, with volunteers recommended to collect their stool in newspaper or a clean margarine tub before transferring with a special spoon provided to a specimen pot.

“Of course we will provide full instructions with the kits and as an incentive the study is willing to pay £5.00 for a sample so we hope that will go some way to overcoming any squeamishness, “she added.

Letters went out to randomly selected patients from GP practise lists last week inviting them to take part in the study.

“We need as many people as possible to participate so that the results will give a time picture,” said Dr McNulty.

Information leaflets will also be placed in the GP practices to let patients know about the study.