The RCP has endorsed a Cancer Research UK report that calls for action to increase the capacity of healthcare staff to conduct research.
Creating time for research, published today, identifies barriers to healthcare staff participating in research which include underinvestment in dedicated research time, limited support for NHS staff developing careers in research, and a lack of coordination between national policy and local practice. It also makes a series of recommendations to address this challenge.
The findings of this report echo an RCP member survey conducted in 2020. This found that physicians were keen to be more involved in clinical research but encountered barriers, especially due to a lack of time.
Welcoming the Cancer Research UK report, RCP academic vice president Professor Cheng-Hock Toh said:
“COVID-19 has shown the vital part that clinical research can play in directly improving patient outcomes. As we rebuild the NHS, we must ensure research is properly integrated into NHS clinical care and is accessible to all staff. This will require a shift in culture that we must all embrace – making research a central part of routine patient care.
“This report rightly highlights that this vision for research is dependent on tackling lack of staff time as a key barrier. A long-term plan to expand the NHS workforce will help to address this capacity constraint, including by increasing the number of medical school places. NHS trusts, government and funders also have an important role to play in supporting innovative job planning models to enable staff to be more involved in research as part of delivering care.”