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

The opportunity every doctor has to get involved with research

Many doctors reading this article will be feeling daunted by the demands on their time that they perceive from this duty. Anne Gulland mentions the National Institute for Health Research and its portfolio but she misses the opportunity to give the link to its associated portfolio

The first step to direct involvement in research for many clinicians will be to recruit into a UKCRN-adopted study. This brings about the benefits for engagement in research that Gulland mentions. It also facilitates continuous professional development both formally from points awarded through trial meetings and in reality through involvement in trial groups. Designing projects to develop one's own ideas can come later; being involved in a trial group will help.

I worked as a consultant medical oncologist in this acute general hospital, starting at a time when this specialty was very rarely represented in the workforce of such hospitals. I was able to assure colleagues of the quality of the service by commitment to clinical research through trial recruitment, always core to oncology practice. I have now retired from that post but continue to work part-time in the Trust to promote precisely the approach that Gulland and Fiona Godlee advocate.

I find that there are consultants who are enthsiasltic about research; in fact this culture was established from when the hospital opened in 1970, particularly in gastrointestinal medicine and surgery. Others are concerned that erosion of time for supporting professional activities in contracts precludes them from research. In reality the reseach infrastructure that a hospital with significant UKCRN portfolio activity can develop makes this much easier. An enthusiastic research nurse makes all the difference.

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 December 2015
S. Michael Crawford
Clinical Lead for Research
Airedale NHS Foundation Trust
Skipton Road, Steeton, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 6TD