Editorials

Funding research in the NHS

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7069.1344 (Published 30 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1344
  1. Keith Peters,
  2. Richard Himsworth
  1. Regius professor of physic Professor of health research and development University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2SP

    The creation of a unified budget is progressing well

    The NHS not only funds its own research but also provides the framework funding which allows many organisations—notably the universities, the Medical Research Council, and medical research charities—to operate within it. The Culyer report, published in September 1994, recommended that the diversity of funding arrangements through which the NHS had supported research should be replaced by a single NHS budget.1 Culyer perceived that much research in the NHS, especially that done outside teaching hospitals, was unrecognised and that the costs were subsumed in clinical prices. This covert research, from which the NHS as a whole benefits, might have been jeopardised as purchaser-provider contracting for patient care developed. The report therefore recommended that, in order to protect this research activity, it should be identified and costed and the money transferred into the new unified research and development budget.

    The identification by NHS providers of their research activity in the year up to 31 May 1996 has documented for the first time the total research enterprise and the professional vivacity of the NHS. Over 39 000 research projects have been identified (speech by secretary of state for health at the opening of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment, 8 July 1996). A substantial part of this research was being done in acute and community hospital trusts, demonstrating …

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