How do you encourage people working in the NHS to get involved in research?

Posted on June 29, 2011 by


There was an interesting discussion in the Lords last week about Clinical Excellence Awards and encouraging people working in the NHS to get involved in health research.

Clinical Excellence Awards are:

…given to recognise and reward the exceptional contribution of NHS consultants, over and above that normally expected in a job, to the values and goals of the NHS and to patient care

These financial awards were introduced to encourage consultants and academics to invest their time in developing clinical excellence in the NHS, by doing research to help develop new treatments etc. They are being reviewed at the moment, raising concerns that changes to the system might reduce the incentives for consultants and academics to get involved in health research and so there will be less people doing health research.

Earl Howe confirmed that rewards and financial incentives would remain but the government are looking at how they could redesign the system to work better and cost-effectively. No decision has yet been made about the 2012 awards round.

Baroness Thornton broadened the issue to the need to encourage  people right across the NHS – not just consultants and academics but nurses, midwives and therapists – to get involved in research and the innovation of new and better clinical practice. Followed by Lord Willis, AMRC’s chair, who raised the challenge that research can be perceived as a less desirable career path as it tends to be less well paid..

Lord Willis of Knaresborough: Would my noble friend accept that one of the real challenges is to make sure that people who are working in clinical practice have the opportunity to engage in research? Research salaries are significantly lower than clinician’s salaries. What is the Minister doing to try to ensure that there is a seamless progression between research and clinical practice and between clinical practice and research?

Lord Kakkar also raised Academic Health Science Centres and the work they are doing to bring research and patient care together – creating an environment that supports work to improve clinical excellence. These were established in 2009 with five years initial funding to be reviewed.

Posted in: Policy