RCP academic vice president, Professor Cheng-Hock Toh, responds to Wellcome’s report on research post-Brexit.
"The UK cannot risk letting its position as a leader in clinical research slip. If we struggle to attract world class researchers after Brexit, this will hit the level of care patients receive as we will lag behind in developing the latest treatments and medicines.
"Patients with rare diseases will particularly suffer if cross-border trials are hampered. Ensuring data-sharing remains simple must be central to a post-Brexit agreement for research. "We also cannot ignore the risk of delays for patients accessing treatments and medicines. Securing associate membership of the European Medicines Agency as a minimum will be the best way of addressing this, enabling continuing collaboration between the EMA and the UK’s MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) on drug regulation.
"The government’s post-Brexit commitment to ‘levelling up’ the UK must also include tackling the regional disparities affecting patient and clinician access to research. Patients in district general hospitals deserve just as good care as those in larger teaching hospitals."
Research is crucially important for the future health of our population and the delivery of excellent healthcare. The RCP is encouraging all physicians to get more involved in research and working for research and medical academia to become an integral part of the NHS.