The Academy of Medical Sciences has launched its report exploring how the interface between academia and the NHS can be enhanced to improve the health and wealth of the UK.Status: Implementation
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Enhancing the NHS-academia interface
The UK’s world-leading biomedical and health research sector has contributed to major advances in patient care, as well as to the wealth of the nation. Patients want opportunities to be involved in research and there is increasing evidence that those treated in research-active healthcare settings have better outcomes and receive better care.
However, NHS staff increasingly lack the capacity to engage with research, and the number of clinical academics – research leads operating at the interface between academia and the NHS – is declining. This widening gap between the NHS and academia is preventing the research expertise and capability within the NHS from reaching its full potential.
It is imperative that these issues are addressed to accelerate the translation of research into patient benefit and better population health, and to increase the appeal of the UK as a global hub for life sciences.
The Academy’s report, ‘Transforming health through innovation: Integrating the NHS and academia’, explores these issues further. It calls for the support of leaders across the biomedical research landscape – both in academia, the NHS and beyond – to achieve six key outcomes that will be essential to enhance the interface between the NHS and the UK’s academic biomedical and health research sector:
- Creating a healthcare system that truly values research.
- Fully integrating research teams across academia and the NHS.
- Providing dedicated research time for research-active NHS staff.
- Ensuring undergraduate curricula equip healthcare staff with the skills to engage with research.
- Incorporating flexibility into postgraduate training pathways.
- Streamlining research through joint research and development offices.
Implementing our vision will require appropriate funding and resources, as well as the support of leaders and collective effort from stakeholders across the biomedical research landscape.
The full report, summary and supporting case studies are available to download on the right-hand side of this page.
Further information is also available in our associated news article.
Terms of reference
A short vision outlining the Academy of Medical Sciences’ aspiration for enhancing the academia-NHS interface will be developed. The vision will explore the role both academia and the NHS can play in improving the interface between the two sectors. In particular, it will:
- Celebrate how research has contributed to the NHS and vice versa over the last 70 years.
- Outline the Academy’s vision for a successful academia-NHS interface.
- Set out recommendations for both NHS organisations and academia, identifying key stakeholders and appropriate timelines for implementation, to achieve our vision for a successful interface. The vision may consider the following aspects:
- Creating an environment that is conducive to research.
- Enabling partnerships.
- Supporting researchers.
The project was overseen by a Steering Group, chaired by the Academy’s President, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci (see 'Steering Group' tab for further details). It has been informed by:
- A workshop on 3 April 2019 to consider the current and future requirements for clinical academic careers (see 'Clinical academic careers workshop' tab for further details).
- A roundtable on 29 April 2019 with senior leaders across the life sciences sector (for further details please visit our event page).
- A roundtable on 12 June 2019 to seek the patient perspective on enabling research in the NHS (see 'Patient roundtable' tab for further details).
- An analysis of the economic costs and literature review of the benefits of dedicated research time for hospital consultants in the NHS. The report of the findings is available to download on the right-hand side of this page.
- Extensive consultation with key stakeholders throughout the project.
For further information, please see the document summarising the preparation of the report that is available to download on the right-hand side of this page.
Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci is currently Provost and Senior Vice-President (Health) at King’s College London, Executive Director of King’s Health Partners and President of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is a strong advocate of the Academic Health Science Centre model of university-healthcare partnerships. His clinical and research career have been focused on the pursuit of clinical transplantation tolerance. He worked in in vitro and in vivo rodent models and recently has helped to define biomarkers of clinical tolerance which have led to first in man trials of cell therapy to promote immune tolerance in recipients of kidney and liver organ transplants. He has published over 200 papers in this field and continues to co-direct a research group in transplantation immunology. In 2012, Sir Robert was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday honours for Services to Academic Medicine and in 2015 was elected as the President of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. He has held a series of programme grants from the Medical Research Council and the British Heart Foundation in support of this work. Sir Robert is also a Founding Board Member of MedCity, and a Board Member of the Crick Institute and London & Partners. He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and the HCA Healthcare Advisory Board.
Dr Catherine Calderwood has been the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland since 2015. Dr Calderwood qualified from Cambridge and Glasgow Universities and continues to work as an obstetrician at a regular antenatal clinic at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Dr Calderwood has published four annual reports on Realistic Medicine. Realistic Medicine puts the person receiving health and care at the centre of decision-making and creates a personalised approach to their care. Her fourth report published in April 2019 will help to embed Realistic Medicine and allow the spread of good practice which is being developed throughout Scotland. All four reports have been universally well received and read by millions of people across the world. The reports also recognise the importance of valuing and supporting staff as vital to improving outcomes for the people in their care.
Professor Dame Jessica Corner FMedSci is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Nottingham, leading a research portfolio of £600million and directing the research and knowledge exchange efforts of over 3,000 colleagues at the University’s campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia. Dame Jessica is a registered nurse. Her research has focussed on improving care and support in cancer and long term health outcomes after a cancer diagnosis. In 2018, when the UK National Health Service turned 70, Dame Jessica was named as one of the most influential nurses in its history. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and in 2014 was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to health care research and education. Dame Jessica is also Chair of the UK Health Education Advisory Committee, Movember Foundation Global Prostate Cancer Outcomes Committee and MacMillan HORIZONS Programme SAB at the University of Southampton. She is the Director of the University of Nottingham Innovation Park, a Member of Council at Research England and a Member of the NHS Scotland Strategic Advisory Board.
Mark Cubbon is Chief Executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. He began his career in the NHS in nursing 27 years ago. He worked in a variety of nursing roles before moving into general management. Prior to joining Portsmouth he held senior Director roles at a number of London Hospital Trusts and was Regional Chief Operating Officer for the Midlands and East region at NHS Improvement. Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is the largest non-teaching hospital in England with an award winning clinical research department. He has a strong interest in academia and since joining Portsmouth has continued to strengthen the Trust’s relationship with local Universities and higher education institutions who are key partners in helping to deliver the organisation’s strategic objectives. He is a Member of NHS Employers Advisory Board, NHS Elect Advisory Board and Clinical Research Network Wessex Partnership Group.
Professor Waljit Dhillo is a Professor in Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Consultant Endocrinologist at Imperial College London. He completed his medical training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, which included an Intercalated BSc in Biochemistry (awarded First Class Honours). He completed his PhD as a Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellow at Imperial College and was subsequently awarded an NIHR Clinician Scientist, NIHR Career Development Fellowship and currently an NIHR Research Professorship. He is Head of Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Imperial College, and Divisional Director of Research for the Division of Medicine and Integrated Care at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. He is in receipt of grants from MRC and NIHR. He also provides consultancy work for Myovant Inc and KnDY Therapeutics.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh KBE has had a distinguished career as a cardiac surgeon. He held the chair of Cardiac Surgery at University College London before being appointed Medical Director of the NHS in the Department of Health in 2007 and National Medical Director of NHS England between 2013-2018. For this decade he was the professional lead for doctors in the NHS and was responsible for national clinical policy and strategy, promoting quality, clinical leadership and innovation across the service. In the Department of Health he was the sponsor for NICE, the Healthcare Commission and the National Patient Safety Agency. With a longstanding interest in the measurement of clinical outcomes, he served on the boards of the Commission for Health Improvement and Healthcare Commission between 2002-2007. He has recently become Chair of the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. He was knighted for services to medicine in 2003. Sir Bruce is Vice-Chair of the Birmingham Hospitals Alliance and a Board Member for both Birmingham Health Partners and the Birmingham and Solihull Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. He is a Director at the Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult, LumiraDx and Sensyne Health. He sits on Advisory Groups for HCA Healthcare, Weslyan Assurance Society and Petrichor Healthcare Capital Management. He is also Chair of the Scarfree Foundation and the BHF Cardiovascular Research Collaborative, and a Trustee of the British Cardiovascular Society and the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death.
Professor Marcel Levi is Professor of Medicine at University College London and Chief Executive of University College London Hospitals (UCLH). He is also a practicing consultant in Acute & Vascular Medicine and Haematology at UCLH. His previous position was Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Amsterdam and Chairman of the Executive Board of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. After his medical training and specialisation in Internal Medicine, he obtained his PhD with honours (1991) and was appointed as a Fellow by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science. He worked at the University of Perugia, Italy, and the Center for Transgene Technology and Genetherapy of the University of Leuven, Belgium. He has published more than 700 articles in international scientific journals and has been awarded a number of international research awards. He was Chairman of the Netherlands Organization for Medical Research (ZON-MW) between 2008 and 2016 and is currently Chairman of the scientific board of several national charities, including the Dutch Heart Foundation and the AIDS fund. He is also on the Board of the National Cancer Institute. He was elected as a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science (KNAW) and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
Professor Carrie MacEwen is Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and immediate past President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. She is a Consultant ophthalmologist at Ninewells Hospital, holding Honorary Professor status at the University of Dundee. She is Associate Post Graduate Dean for the East Region in Scotland for less than full time medical training. She is ophthalmology specialty adviser to the Chief Medical Officer and government in Scotland, and clinical lead of the NHS England/Improvement Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) ophthalmology workstream. She co-Chairs the Genomic Clinical Leads Committee with Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Dame Sue Hill OBE DBE FMedSci. Professor MacEwen is a member of the NHS Assembly. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the Royal College of Surgeons (Ed). She is also an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Ed), Royal College of General Practitioners, the College of Optometrists and of the Faculty Sport and Exercise Medicine. She is an independent member of the University of Exeter Governing Council and a Trustee of the Moorfields Eye Charity. She holds shares in GlaxoSmithKline.
Professor Richard McManus is Professor of Primary Care Research, and Dean of Welfare and Governing Body Fellow of Green Templeton College, at the University of Oxford. He is a part time General Practitioner and Partner at 27 Beaumont Street in Oxford. His research interests lie in cardiovascular disease. He has published work on the management of chest pain, blood pressure measurement and stroke management in primary care, and self-monitoring in hypertension. He supervises PhD/DPhil students undertaking projects in hypertension and blood pressure monitoring in pregnancy. He holds an NIHR Professorship and leads an NIHR Programme Grant around self-monitoring in hypertension, primary care management of hypertension and chronic kidney disease. He is also in receipt of a Programme Grant from the Stroke Association and British Heart Foundation. He chairs the Blood Pressure Monitoring Working Party of the British Hypertension Society and the NIHR Doctoral Fellowship Panel. He is an Expert Member of the European Society of Cardiology and the European Society of Hypertension, and is Guardian of the Royal College of General Practitioners Cardiovascular Curriculum. He provides expert advice to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Department of Health and Social Care, and the European Society of Cardiology. He is a shareholder of a GP Practice in Birmingham and receives occasional honoraria, which are paid to Green Templeton College.
Professor Paul Stewart FMedSci is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds. He is also a Non-Executive Director and an Honorary Consultant Endocrinologist at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Leeds Academic Health Partnership where he leads the Centre for Personalised Medicine & Health. He is the Vice President (Clinical) at Academy of Medical Sciences and an elected fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He received his medical degree from Edinburgh Medical School and was awarded an MD from Edinburgh University with Honours and a Gold Medal. Funded by the MRC, he undertook postgraduate research and clinical training in Edinburgh, Charlottesville, Dallas, and Birmingham UK. He is a primary investigator within the NIHR Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre in Leeds and an Emeritus NIHR Senior Clinical Investigator. Throughout his career he has received research support from the MRC, Wellcome Trust, NIHR, NIH, Australian NHMRC and industry sources. His clinical expertise includes the management of pituitary and adrenal disorders, endocrine hypertension and reproductive medicine. He has received many accolades including RCP London Goulstonian and Linacre Lecturer, the Dale medal from the Society for Endocrinology and the Clinical Investigator Medal/ Laureate Award for International Excellence in Endocrinology from The Endocrine Society. In 2019, he was appointed Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is Chief Scientific Advisor to the Scar Free Foundation and a Member of the Dementias Platform UK Oversight Board and Association of Academic Health Centres International. He is serving or has recently served leadership roles for the British Heart Foundation, the Northern Health Science Alliance, Medical Schools Council and various patient support groups.
On 3 April 2019, the Academy held a one-day workshop to consider clinical academic research careers, leaders and innovators for the future.
The workshop convened key stakeholders from industry, academia and the NHS to explore the current and future requirements for clinical academic careers. The meeting explored how to develop researchers, leaders and innovators that are equipped with the necessary skills to meet emerging healthcare challenges, and to embrace advances in novel practices and technology.
Chaired by the Academy’s Vice President (Clinical), Professor Paul Stewart FMedSci, the meeting comprised a series of talks and breakout group discussions to consider the clinical academic career requirements for:
- Public and population health prevention
- Discovery medicine
- Disruptive technologies
- Adoption of innovation in the NHS
The report of the meeting is available to download on the right-hand side of this page. Further details can also be found on the event page.
On 12 June 2019, the Academy held a roundtable jointly with the National Institute for Health Research and NHS England, to seek the patient perspective on enabling research in the NHS.
The meeting, chaired by Professor Dame Jessica Corner FMedSci, brought together patient advocates and leaders to:
- Explore the opportunities for and challenges to research in the NHS from the patient perspective.
- Identify best practice examples and understand how these could be implemented more widely.
- Consider the next steps needed to place patients at the heart of research in the NHS.
- Seek the patient perspective to inform the Academy’s vision to enhance the NHS-academia interface.
The report of the meeting is available to download on the right-hand side of this page. Further details can also be found on the event page.
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Dr Claire Cope
Head of Policy
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