Intended for healthcare professionals


Falling research in the NHS

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 17 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2375
  1. Michael Rees, head1,
  2. Frank Wells, retired pharmaceutical physician2
  1. 1School of Medical Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2AS
  2. 2Old Hadleigh, Capel St Mary, Ipswich IP9 2JJ
  1. frankwells36{at}

    A clear national strategy is needed to overcome local barriers to research

    The recently published Department of Health leaflet entitled A Junior Doctor’s Guide to the NHS includes a statement that the director general of research and development is responsible for establishing the NHS as an international centre for research excellence.1 Although medical research in the United Kingdom is clearly excellent and world leading, the NHS has underperformed as a leader in clinical research. In 2003 a government sponsored report described how the NHS would be transformed to produce high quality global clinical trials, giving the UK a competitive edge in clinical research.2 Unfortunately, the UK’s participation in global clinical trials dropped from 6% in 2002 to 2% by 2009.3 Other initiatives to support clinical research have also failed to stimulate research by NHS clinicians, including the establishment of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration in 2004, and the inauguration of the NHS research and development strategy under the auspices of the National Institute for Health Research in 2006.4

    Despite concern that the introduction of the European Clinical Trials Directive might negatively influence …

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