NHS patients to benefit from super-charged clinical research system

NHS patients up and down the country are set to benefit from a “super-charged clinical research system” after the government outlined plans for £175m worth of investment today.

The new plan details the second phase of work needed to successfully deliver the ambitions set out in The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery, including £150m of funding ringfenced for the National Institute for Health and Care Research, as well as the residual £25m for other research partners who are part of the UK Clinical Research Recovery, Resilience and Growth Programme.

The new investment will allow the best research to be conducted more quickly, which will in turn help patients access cutting-edge treatments faster, ultimately speeding up diagnosis and contributing towards the ongoing effort to eliminate the backlog.

The government say the plan will

  • Increase the amount of research and the size of the workforce putting the UK at the centre of cutting edge and global clinical studies.
  • Improve the quality of research by broadening responsibility and accountability for studies across the NHS.
  • Ensure studies address the needs and challenges facing the NHS, including improving inclusivity and accessibility.
  • Take advantage of opportunities outside the EU to reduce regulations allowing for safe, speedy and flexible research.
  • Improve participation in research across the UK by investment in digitally focused trials.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “We are bolstering clinical research to improve healthcare for patients across the UK, by providing our world-leading experts with the tools needed to deliver cutting edge scientific developments, grow the workforce and harness digital innovations.

“As a global life sciences superpower, we have led the world on vaccines and antiviral treatments and today’s plan will ensure we continue to be at the forefront of clinical research to save lives and bust the Covid backlog.”

The government have already made great strides towards improving and bolstering research, including halving the amount of time it takes for a new clinical trail to get approval, launching a new UK-wide professional accreditation scheme for Clinical Research Practitioners, and rolling out £200m of investment into health data infrastructure across England.

By improving the UK’s ability to harness and master technology, studies can be conducted virtually enabling for a more efficient and expedited research progress, which will eventually improve health outcomes at the end of the line – the PANORAMIC trial and the RELIEVE IBS-D virtual trial being examples of this.

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR, said: “I am delighted to be working with such a strong and broad cross-sector partnership to transform the future of research delivery.

“I know we all want to deliver real change for patients and researchers, and these plans mark our shared commitment to strengthen our drive for efficient, innovative and patient-centred research that meets the health and care challenges of the future.”

More information about the new funding and what it will do is available here.

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