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CQC inspections to give more exposure to clinical research taking place in NHS trusts

Published: 26 April 2019

NHS trusts in England will now be asked to look more closely at research as a priority for improving patient care, as a result of new questions being included in the Care Quality Commission (CQC) well-led framework.

A partnership made up of the NIHR, the Health Research Authority (HRA) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), together with UK Research and Development representatives (known as UKRD) and patients, have collaborated with CQC on this project to recognise research in quality patient care.

Dr William van’t Hoff, NIHR Clinical Director for NHS Engagement who spearheaded the project from its inception says: 
“There’s a growing body of evidence which illustrates that research active hospitals have better patient outcomes. Not only this, but we also know that patients really value the opportunity to take part in, and benefit from, research taking place in their local hospital. Therefore the new questions included in the CQC well-led framework aim to ensure that trusts really look at clinical research as an opportunity for good patient care, and that it embeds as a founding principle across its staff in all specialties.”

The series of questions on research is relevant both to trusts with established research portfolios as well as those with less research activity. Dr William van’t Hoff is also keen to highlight how trusts can respond to the call for more clinical research. Many doctors regard research as an important part of their job, and find it a very positive experience but studies show that they are also challenged by the lack of protected time for patient-facing research.

He says:
“The work delivered as a result of the partnership with the CQC, is really helping to integrate research as a routine part of patient care, and its encouraging other health partners to support clinicians who are interested in undertaking clinical research. For example only this week, we have seen the Royal College of Physicians issue a statement outlining recommendations on ways in which trusts can further support research. This provides practical steps for trusts and reinforces the importance of clinical research to doctors.”


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