Proposals to protect and strengthen research have been made by the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS), in a report produced with input from NHS leaders, clinicians and patient representatives.
The report recognises that, owing to significant pressure on the NHS, many clinicians are finding it difficult to find time for research. It calls for actions including a pilot of giving consultants in ten UK hospitals protected time for research, and work to more closely integrate research, academia, healthcare delivery and funding. The report ‘Transforming health through innovation: integrating the NHS and academia’ is available to download here
AMS President Professor Sir Robert Lechler said: “Protecting and strengthening research is a win-win situation for patients, the NHS, Universities and our economy. Research is the tonic the NHS needs right now. There is increasing evidence that shows that patients treated in research active hospitals get better quality of care, even if they are not taking part in a research project. Evidence also suggests that including research in medical roles makes it easier to attract and keep the best doctors.”
Professor Chris Whitty, who leads the NIHR and is also Chief Medical Officer, said: “I am pleased this report recognises the world leading role of NIHR as a driver for high quality clinical research. NIHR is committed to better working across academia and the NHS. Giving healthcare professionals dedicated time to do research and better support from universities will be essential to harness the wealth of research expertise within the NHS for better patient health. The actions in this report will put us on the right path to strengthen the relationship between academia and the NHS.”
Last year was a record year, with every NHS trust taking part in research and a record million plus people generously giving their time to take part in NIHR supported studies. The NIHR has prioritised engagement with the NHS workforce and developed systems to support greater opportunities for research. This report provides a further stimulus to our work to protect and support research for the benefit of patient care.