Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Doctors and Research

“It’s the duty of every doctor to get involved with research”

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 27 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6329

Research Needs You: But the onus is not only on the doctor but on the employing organisation to make this happen.

The article by Anne Gulland emphasises on the importance of doctors conducting research as part of their routine clinical practice.No one disagrees about the importance of research in improving and developing care to patients including having better clinical outcomes.As former executive lead of reserach and deveopment in my Trust I wish to make the following relevant comments;
• There are two types of research conducted in healthcare organisations; one which is service oriented and the other which focusses on advancement of medicine and improvement of care in general.
• Organisations such as hospitals will be focussing on service directed research in line with local service need priorities as stipulated in their research strategies and action plans.
• In order for doctors to carry out research and innovation they must be enabled to do so by allocating the necessary time within their job plans to i.e. by having sufficient supporting programmed activities (SPAs).The problem doctors face is that their organisations may not identify time for them to do so as this entails resource and money which is best used for direct programmed clinical activities which are more likely to generate income as opposed to reserach which may be perceived as a luxury whose benefits are not readily tangible to the employing organisation.Therefore, in many occasions SPA time to conduct reserach is simply not approved by Trusts for the doctors to pursue research.
• Each Trust has staff that manages reserach and development and ensure compliance with research governance and facilitate the strategy or direction of reserach within them, however the money allocated to support research is generally not sufficient and varies between hospitals. In contrast, companies and other businesses invest millions of pounds to carry out research as the return is very beneficial.
In conclusion, although it is important for every doctor to have the desire and effectively doing research but equally the employing organisation has a big role to ensure this happens tailored to patient and service needs locally and nationally.
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust
Moorgate Road, oakwood, Rotherham, S60 2UD.

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 December 2015
Walid Al-Wali
Consultant Medical Microbiologist and Director for Infection Prevention and Control ( Former Medical Director 2001-2011)
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust
Moorgate Road,Oakwood,Rotherham,S60 2UD