HRA's draft UK policy framework for health and social care research

The Academy of Medical Sciences has responded to the Health Research Authority's consultation on the draft UK policy framework for health and social care research.

Status: Completed

In January 2015, the Health Research Authority (HRA) became responsible for publishing policy and guidance on principles of good practice in the management and conduct of health and social care research. It is intended that this will provide the basis for operational provisions at local level and will set the tone for the conduct of research across the UK health and social care system. The HRA has thus developed a draft UK-wide policy framework that sets out these principles. The Academy provided initial comments on the draft framework in 2015, and responded to the HRA public consultation on the revised draft in March 2016. Both responses can be downloaded from the righthand side of this page.

The submission to the consultation drew on the expertise of our Fellowship to identify a number of key points:

  • We strongly support the high-level principles set out in the policy framework and more generally, the HRA's efforts to streamline and coordinate the regulation and governance of health research across the UK.
  • We would welcome further clarification on the legal status of the document and encourage the HRA to more clearly frame this document as a minimum set of standards for the conduct of health research in the UK, compliance with which will ensure that all relevant legal requirements are being met. Additionally, it might be helpful to provide further clarity, in some areas, on how organisations must comply with the framework, including what this might represent in practice.
  • We believe that there remains a need to further highlight the overriding responsibility of all stakeholders, including the NHS, to promote research in the UK.
  • We recommend that the document references the use of routine health records, as well as considering the increasing variety of sources of research data which will need to be accommodated within this framework.
  • Finally, we would welcome further information on how the framework will be evaluated and compliance monitored.

We continue to engage with the HRA on both the framework and its wider activities.

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