Quality Accounts

Participation in Clincial Research

Research helps the NHS to improve the quality of care and the future health of the population. Quality Accounts let patients and the public know about the quality of care. Preparing Quality Accounts encourages NHS boards to assess quality across the totality of services they offer, with an eye to continuous quality improvement.

Since 1st April 2010, regulations require Trusts to complete the following statement in their Quality Accounts:

“The number of patients receiving NHS services provided or sub­contracted by [name of provider [1]] in [reporting period [2]] that were recruited [3] during that period to participate in research approved by a research ethics committee [4] was [insert number [5]].”

[1] e.g. our Trust

[2] e.g. 2009/10

[3] This means agreed to participate in the research but did not necessarily complete the study

[4] This means a committee within the National Research Ethics Service (NRES)

[5] Trusts have to keep a record of research projects, in accordance with section 3.10 of the Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care - this information is therefore readily available from providers.

Research is a core part of the NHS, enabling the NHS to improve the current and future health of the people it serves. 'Clinical research' means research which has received a favourable opinion from a research ethics committee within the National Research Ethics Service (NRES). Information about clinical research involving patients is kept routinely as part of a patient’s records.

In order to best benefit the reader, Trusts should report the indicator in a context which makes it meaningful. For example, where relevant and where the data are available, it may be expressed as a percentage of patients in the eligible disease groups and/or compared with the figures for previous reporting years.

Focus on Outcomes

Trusts are encouraged also to report on other areas which demonstrate commitment to research as a driver for improving the quality of care and to the patient experience in relation to research.  The model statement in the box below covers relevant measures of success or potential areas for improvement.

Illustrative model statement: 

Commitment to research
as a driver for improving the quality of care and patient experience 

The number of patients receiving NHS services provided or sub-contracted by [name of provider] in [reporting period] that were recruited during that period to participate in research approved by a research ethics committee was [insert number].

Participation in clinical research demonstrates [provider’s] commitment to improving the quality of care we offer and to making our contribution to wider health improvement. Our clinical staff stay abreast of the latest possible treatment possibilities and active participation in research leads to successful patient outcomes.

[Provider] was involved in conducting [insert number] clinical research studies in [medical specialty [1]] during[reporting period]. Over the same period, mortality amenable to healthcare/mortality rate from causes considered preventable [2] in [medical specialty] changed from the previous year by [insert percentage].

[Sample explanation] The improvement in patient health outcomes in [provider] demonstrates that a commitment to clinical research leads to better treatments for patients.

There were [insert number] of clinical staff participating in research approved by a research ethics committee at[provider] during [reporting period]. These staff participated in research covering [insert number] of medical specialties.

As well, in the last three years, [insert number] publications have resulted from our involvement in NIHR research, which shows our commitment to transparency and desire to improve patient outcomes and experience across the NHS.

[Sample explanation] Our engagement with clinical research also demonstrates [provider] commitment to testing and offering the latest medical treatments and techniques.

[1] This refers to the relevant Input Indicator from the Operating Framework
[2] This refers to the relevant Outcome Indicator from the Operating Framework

The inclusion of this statement demonstrates the link between a Trust's participation in research and its drive continuously to improve the quality of services. The White Paper Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS (DH July 2010) says:"Research is even more important when resources are under pressure - it identifies new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. It is essential if we are to increase the quality and productivity of the NHS, and to support growth in the economy." For future years, the NIHR will publish comparative information on Trust's performance which they could consider using in their Quality Account statement on their contribution to health research.