Following the launch of the Government’s vision ‘Saving and Improving lives: the future of UK clinical research delivery’, Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said:
“The Academy welcomes the launch of the Government’s ambitious vision for clinical research delivery published yesterday [Tuesday 23 March]. It showcases the UK’s tremendous success in clinical research and sets out a clear direction to build on our strengths and design an even stronger and more resilient system – one which capitalises on innovation – to improve the lives of patients across the UK and beyond.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the importance, impact and necessity of clinical research, as well as the benefits of collaboration between academia, industry and the NHS in developing lifesaving therapeutics and improving patient care. The delivery of the RECOVERY Trial – which has been estimated to save 12,000 COVID-19 patients through the use of Dexamethasone alone – and the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are two major examples of the power of clinical research and cross-sector collaboration, and there are many others.
“As well as highlighting what clinical research can achieve, the pandemic has however caused major disruption to the lives, research and careers of those working on other conditions. There is an urgent need to support the recovery of halted research and the careers of the many brilliant clinical researchers in the UK who have been impacted.
“We are delighted that this vision spans the Devolved Administrations, and welcome the emphasis placed on tackling health inequalities and supporting under-served populations – a priority if clinical research is to benefit all in the UK.
“Progress in clinical research delivery will only be made by firmly embedding patient-centred, streamlined, efficient, and innovative and clinical research in the NHS, all of which must be supported by data and digital tools. To underpin this, there needs to be a research-engaged health and social care workforce that is fully supported and empowered to undertake and implement the findings of research.
“The Department of Health and Social Care’s recent health and social care White Paper offers a real opportunity to further embed research into the future of the NHS, and thereby enable the vision to be fully realised across public health and primary, secondary and social care research. This should be a priority in the development of the upcoming Health and Care Bill.
“The vision strongly resonates with the Academy’s ongoing work on enhancing the interface between the NHS and academia. Our work similarly aims to better harness the research expertise and capability of the NHS to improve the health and wealth of the nation. We look forward to working closely with the sector to ensure the Academy can play its part in the delivery of the vision, and in supporting and developing the careers of future research leaders.”