Having long championed the importance of an NHS that is a positive force for research and innovation the Academy of Medical Sciences strongly supports the measures proposed by the Government to embed research and innovation in the NHS through changes to the Health & Social Care Bill.
The Academy particularly welcomes proposed measures to:
- Create a new duty on the Secretary of State to promote research.
- Place a duty on clinical commissioning groups to promote research and innovation and the use of research evidence in the NHS.
- Embed a culture of research and innovation in arrangements for the new NHS Commissioning Board and Public Health England.
- Ensure costs for patients taking part in research funded by Government and research charity partners are met through the normal arrangements for commissioning patient care.
- Establish Public Health England as an Executive Agency.
In response Professor Sir John Bell FRS HonFREng PMedSci, President of the Academy said, ‘This is a hugely significant step towards creating an NHS that is a responsive and willing home for research and innovation. These measures will ensure a duty to support research at all levels of the NHS and provide a clear sign that Government has listened to the concerns of the medical science community and reaffirmed its commitment to health research. Successful implementation of the proposals will lead to improved patient care and greater efficiency, as well as offering opportunities for wealth creation.
‘The requirement for the Secretary of State for Health to promote research will send out a clear message that it is valued throughout the NHS and public health system. I am delighted that clinical commissioning groups will be under a duty to promote research and innovation and the use of evidence in the NHS. This will ensure more patients benefit from the latest developments in treatment and healthcare. But embedding research into the NHS must be accompanied by a workforce that values research and innovation. I therefore support calls in the NHS Future Forum report for Government to review proposals around healthcare workforce education and training.’
Professor Sir Michael Rawlins FMedSci, Chair of an Academy of Medical Sciences working group that reviewed the regulation and governance of health research said, ‘Our report on the regulation and governance of medical research set out the need to embed a culture of research and innovation throughout the NHS and to streamline the regulatory system. The government should be applauded for the steps it is taking in the Bill to support medical research in the NHS. The changes will complement steps to streamline regulation, including the creation of a new Health Research Regulatory Agency. Together these changes will ensure that current and future patients can reap the rewards of new medical understanding and enjoy improved interventions to treat and prevent disease.’
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) currently provides essential public health advice. The Academy has stressed that such advice must be independent of political influence. This is especially important during public health emergencies such as the recent H1N1 swine flu pandemic.
Sir John added, ‘The decision to establish Public Health England (PHE) as an Executive Agency ensures that there will be an independent source of public health advice in the future. Establishing PHE as an Executive Agency also provides an important home for public health scientists, which is vital to nurturing the careers of these future public health experts.’
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For further information, please contact: Nicholas Hillier, Head of Communications, Academy of Medical Sciences 020 3176 2154
Notes for Editors
The independent Academy of Medical Sciences promotes advances in medical science and campaigns to ensure these are translated into benefits for patients. The Academy’s Fellows are the United Kingdom’s leading medical scientists from hospitals, academia, industry and the public service.