Comparable performance in the initiation of clinical research

Since autumn 2011, new NIHR contracts with providers of NHS services require contractors to publish information on performance in initiating and delivering clinical trials on a quarterly basis. The Government’s Plan for Growth published in March 2011, announced the transformation of incentives at local level for efficiency in initiation and delivery of research. This shows a commitment to making performance transparent and accountable, routinely enabling comparisons of research sites with one another, and against international benchmarks.

NIHR recognises that some providers of NHS services need to develop new systems and change ways of working, and that this takes time. NIHR continues to work with providers of NHS services, feeding back on data quality and relative performance, and sharing insights on achieving the required operational changes.

Providers of NHS services with new NIHR contracts also have the requirement of publishing their organisation’s performance against the 70 day benchmark on their website. Each quarter, beginning with Q1 2014/15, NIHR has published a table of performance information against the 70 day benchmark. 

From Q1 2014/15 to Q3 2016/17 this benchmark was based upon the interval from valid research application to recruitment of the first patient to a trial. Since Q4 2016/17 NIHR has not been collecting 70 day benchmark information on trials with NHS permissions, and has instead only been collecting information on trials with HRA approvals. The benchmark for these trials is from Date Site Selected to recruitment of the first patient to a trial. 

The comparable analysis for NHS permission trials is still available on the NIHR website here, but must not be used for comparison with any data after Q3 2016/17.

Information will be published for all providers of NHS services who have been subject to the contractual requirement for at least four quarters; giving providers time to develop their systems and ways of working to ensure accurate performance information is made publicly available.

Data submitted by providers is adjusted to remove trials where NIHR accepts that the source of delay was not the provider of NHS services acting as the trial host (for example in the case of an extremely rare disease where relevant patients were not identified in time).

Published performance information:

Q4 2016/17

Q1 2017/18

Q2 2017/18

Q3 2017/18