8th January 2020
The following statement is from Bob Bell, Chair of the University Hospital Association, in response to the Academy of Medical Sciences report, ‘Transforming health through innovation: Integrating the NHS and academia’:
“University hospitals are where the larger part of research in the NHS takes place and where universities interact closely with the health service. We are hugely welcoming of the Academy of Medical Sciences report and its significant recommendations in this area.
“Our trusts account for a disproportionate amount of admissions and turnover compared to the NHS as a whole, and evidence suggests that a trust having a strong research base can lead to better health outcomes for patients not just across the UK, as its discoveries are deployed across the system, but in particular for its own patients. This relates to the availability of clinical trials and the culture of teaching and innovation that is the fabric of these institutions.
“This is why the report’s recommendation that staff should have protected time for research is so welcome. In a system that is stretched for resources, priorities can shift towards more immediate work and away from research, but research is essential in reducing stress on the system in the long-term. “Protected time will allow trusts to engage in long-term thinking while also reaping the short-term benefits of research – which we must strive to make clearer to government and policy-makers. These benefits include improvements to working practices that can see quick results.
“Another of the report’s recommendations, to improve the measurement and reporting of research’s value, is a key way for us to provide this clarity.
“The University Hospital Association looks forward to working with all parties to strengthen the relationship between universities and the NHS as both of these sectors continue to evolve. This relationship is at the heart of our work.”