The RCP welcomes the ambitions set out in the government’s vision for clinical research published today, especially its commitment that clinical research is embedded in everyday care and is ‘everyone’s business across the NHS’.
COVID-19 has shown the vital role that all hospitals can play in supporting research to improve patient care, especially through the RECOVERY trial, and this learning needs to be built in as the NHS rebuilds after the pandemic and looks to tackle health inequalities.
We are pleased that the government has listened carefully and acknowledged the obstacles that clinicians face being involved in research, especially that they feel they lack the time and skills to. We will continue to work with policymakers to address these challenges, and look forward to seeing more detailed plans later this year.
Commenting on the launch, RCP academic vice president Professor Cheng-Hock Toh said:
‘Changing the culture of the NHS so research is seen as an essential part of patient care, rather than an optional add-on, is imperative but not straightforward.
COVID-19 has shown what we can achieve when research is prioritised as part of improving patient care, and this vision sets the right direction for how we can embed these positive changes as we rebuild the NHS.
Government, the NHS, medical royal colleges and the wider research community now need to work together to achieve this. Finding ways of enabling clinicians more time to do research will be key, as will a focus on providing the resources to enable smaller, more rural hospitals to be research-active.
It has long been clear clinical research improves patient outcomes, and that doctors have a strong desire to be more involved – whether that’s recruiting patients to trials, doing quality improvement work or designing new studies. Now is the time to make that happen’.