RCP academic vice-president Professor Cheng-Hock Toh today welcomed the publication of the four-nation implementation plan for the Vision for Research.
'We welcome the government, as part of a four nation approach, setting out its plans over the next year to implement its Vision For Research. We are pleased that through the RCP’s role on the Research Recovery and Growth Advisory Group, the government is taking steps to better enable clinicians working in the NHS to be involved in research. Clinicians are keen to participate more in research but are stymied by a lack of time and the culture of their NHS organisation.
The commitment to ‘increase awareness of the value of research among NHS leaders’ will be important in ensuring that NHS trusts do more to become research-active and enable their staff the time to participate too.
The pledge to work with the research community to ‘explore ways in which metrics can increase the visibility research across the NHS and strengthen the incentive for trusts and boards to support clinical research’ is also crucial. Ultimately to achieve system-wide change, NHS trusts will need incentives to do more to support research, alongside requirements from regulators like the CQC. The RCP looks forward to working with these bodies, the NHS and the wider research community to develop what these effective metrics and targets look like.
We are also pleased by the pledge that NIHR will work to develop systems to ensure that health research is better directed towards tackling health inequalities. Matching research with the areas of greatest disease burden will ensure clinical research delivers the most benefit for patients.
This work to encourage and incentivise trusts to become more research active needs to be backed up by a plan to expand the NHS workforce. Without more staff, the NHS will struggle to find the capacity to become more research-active and deliver improvements to patient care.’
Professor Toh has previously written about enabling an equitable spread of research, access and funding in the UK.