Society welcomes AMS research report

Today the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) published its report ‘Transforming health through innovation: Integrating the NHS and academia’, setting out how the interface between academia and the NHS can be enhanced to improve the health and wealth of the UK.
The report 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.
The six key outcomes are

  • 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
The findings of this report are aligned to the British Pharmacological Society’s support for embedding research in the NHS. In a recent response to the House of Lords ageing inquiry, we highlighted the importance of building research capacity in the NHS, to ensure a ‘research ready’ workforce, meaning healthcare professionals must be familiar with, and have some exposure to, clinical trial designs, the disciplines and ethics of clinical research and structured data gathering. The workforce must also be supported to be ‘research active’, meaning that they have the time, training and support to engage with research. Our ongoing collaboration to develop a new Clinical Pharmacology Scientist apprenticeship aims to enhance UK training capability for clinical research and clinical trials, for scientists and healthcare professionals alike. Embedding research must be incentivised, and in line with the current report, we also recommend that metrics should be set to improve the research activity of NHS Trusts.

As part of the Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance, we have continued to make the case for research in the NHS, for example in the CPSA response to the Health and Social Care Committee inquiry on Budget and NHS long-term plan, in which the CPSA said:

Encouraging the wider workforce to develop expertise in these [research] areas would broaden career paths, be attractive to global talent, enhance retention, and increase productivity, whilst bringing direct benefits to patients. To facilitate this, it is essential that time for research, and time for research training, is included in job plans; enabling this will also require investment in workforce capacity. Healthcare professionals must have access to education and training structures to support research, and research should be embedded in the culture of the NHS workforce.

Research-active hospitals deliver better care and have better patient outcomes, with benefits not limited to those patients who participate in research. The Society recently endorsed a report from the Royal College of Physicians that set out the benefits of research in more detail.

Collaboration across the sector will be crucial and the Society looks forward to continuing to work with partners on this issue. We hope that truly recognising the value of research to the NHS will extend these benefits to all, and that strong partnerships between academia, the NHS and industry will maintain UK’s position at the forefront of medical research and patient-centred care.

Published: 08 Jan 2020 in Press releases