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Editorials

Strengthening research in the NHS

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1254 (Published 22 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1254
  1. Margaret Johnson, academic vice president,
  2. Jayne Black, senior policy adviser
  1. Royal College of Physicians of London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: M Johnson Margaret.johnson{at}rcplondon.ac.uk

The potential is there, we just need to unlock it

NHS research is outstanding. A recent review concluded that “the UK punches above its weight internationally,”1 supported by NHS England, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the emerging UK Research and Innovation, medical research charities such as the Wellcome Trust, our university partners, and industry. What is less well known is that research active NHS organisations have better patient outcomes2 and doctors find that research brings variety to their role, challenges them, and increases morale.3 Finally, investment in medical research has been found to provide a substantial long term return.4

So win, win? Well, no actually.

Although research in the NHS has been going from strength to strength, with research activity increasing year on year,5 challenges remain to ensure patients have access to the best treatments and innovations and to keep the UK a world leader in medical research. We still need to strive for greater efficiency and, crucially, avoid duplication in the system.6

This is what NHS England is aiming to achieve with its “12 …

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