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Support for clinical research further recognised in the CQC inspection framework

Published: 30 October 2018

The partnership* working to help recognise the role research plays in delivering quality patient care, is pleased to announce that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has now included key research related questions in its inspection framework for the trust-wide well-led key question**.

The additional research questions aim to determine how well an NHS trust integrates research into its corporate strategy, planning and how well research opportunities are communicated to patients. This major step forward in the updated framework delivered by CQC signifies the value for NHS trusts to embed research trust-wide in its ethos.
Dr William van’t Hoff, Clinical Director for NHS Engagement at the NIHR, Clinical Research Network says: 

“We are delighted to see the inclusion of the research questions into the CQC inspection framework for the well-led category. It is hoped this key development will support trusts who have a strong portfolio of research to widen their commitment to research opportunities into more specialties areas. 

“For those trusts with less research taking place, it is hoped that the introduction of these questions will help them recognise more that access to research opportunities really does drive high quality patient care and is highly rated by participating staff and patients alike.”

As reported in May this year, the CQC Annual Survey of Inpatient Experience now includes a question about research opportunities offered to patients as part of their care. This survey is now out to approximately 150 NHS trusts in England. These data from about 70,000 patients, will offer valuable insight into what proportion of patients are invited to participate in research in different NHS trusts, the first time such data has been collected. Once published, we will work with the research community to explore learnings from this and how it can inform future activity to improve the availability of research opportunities to patients.

Work continues on development of an indicator for CQC monitoring of research activity. It has proved challenging but the partnership is working hard to arrive at a solution that recognises the complexity of this area.
The partnership is working to complete the project as a whole this year. The final announcements will follow along with a range of materials designed to support the introduction of this new element of the CQC assessment.

*The partnership consists 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, who are partnering with CQC on this project to recognise research in quality patient care.

** To support this element of the framework, CQC has also published a guide for inspectors, ‘Research in the NHS’.

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