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Medicine 2019: Clinicians and the importance of research

In one of the final concurrent sessions of Medicine 2019 day 1, the focus was on careers. Including talks from a number of experts.

Dr Rahul Mukherjee, clinical research fellow in cardiac electrophysiology at King’s College London, used this opportunity to ask the question: ‘Is research for me?’ He explained how research allows doctors to evaluate clinical practice objectively, while also advancing their chosen discipline.

Dr Mukherjee also argued for the benefits of engaging in research for patients: ‘There’s some evidence that research active organisations have better clinical outcomes, suggesting that we should all engage in research, whatever specialty we practice.’

He also acknowledged the negative aspects of doing research: ‘Rejection is a constant theme, and getting funding can be very difficult. It can be very disheartening when you’ve spent years on a piece of work and submitting this to a journal, only for it to be heavily criticised.’ Other barriers, such as excessive bureaucracy and the varying quality of supervision available, were also discussed.

It is increasingly possible to engage in research outside of traditional fellowship funding, and Dr Mukherjee highlighted other methods of getting involved in research, before handing over to RCP academic vice president Professor Cheng-Hock Toh.

Professor Toh argued for the importance of research. Ahead of the release of the RCP’s new statement, Delivering research for all, Professor Toh made the case for NHS trusts to become more research active. Almost two-thirds of doctors (64%) say they want to do more research, and embedding protected time for clinicians is a key priority.

The RCP will also be calling for maintaining medical research funding, involving patients in research design, improving R&D departments and access to research skills.

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