Supporting and applying research in the NHS

On 30 November 2017 NHS England’s board approved a joint statement by NHS England and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) that committed to 12 actions to support and apply research in the NHS.

In connection with this, between November 2017 and February 2018, NHS England, working in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the Health Research Authority (HRA) and the NIHR, held a public consultation on proposals to:

  • better manage excess treatment costs (action 1)
  • further improve and eliminate delays in commercial contract research set-up and reporting (action 2)

This emphasis on simplifying and improving research arrangements is ultimately intended to improve future health and care for patients.

NHS England’s response to the public consultation: “Supporting Research in the NHS: A consultation covering changes to simplify arrangements for research in the NHS and associated changes to the terms of the NHS Standard Contract” summarises the feedback received and outlined our next steps for implementation.

Reducing delays and improving commercial clinical research set up and reporting

The consultation proposed options to streamline and improve the process for commercial contract research. It set out proposals aimed at eliminating uncertainties and delays in site set up for commercial contract research.

In implementing the recommendations arising from the consultation, there will be greater certainty and reduced administration costs for NHS providers and industry alike, making the NHS in England a more attractive base for research.

The National Directive on Commercial Contract Research Studies sets out the requirements providers will need to adhere to for commercial contract research. This has been jointly developed by NHS England, NHS Improvement, the HRA and the NIHR. New requirements set out in the NHS Standard Contract come into force on 1st October 2018.

Work has also been undertaken to better articulate NHS England’s research needs (action 3) so that wherever possible, policy and practice can be informed by high-quality and timely research evidence or information synthesis. The initial outcomes of this ongoing process can be found here: NHS England’s Research Needs Assessment 2018.