Finding out more about the government’s plans for the Health Research Authority

Posted on September 8, 2011 by


Lord Willis has tabled a couple of questions to try and get a bit more information about the government’s plans to set up the single Health Research Authority.


The Academy of Medical Sciences reviewed the regulation of health research in the UK and recommended how this could be improved. Their recommendations included establishing a single regulator of health research. In the Plan for Growth published by the government alongside the 2011 budget, the government committed to setting this up as the Health Research Authority (HRA).

They have said that they plan to set this up as a special health authority in the first instance, introducing primary legislation in the next parliamentary session to make it an official independent body.

The Academy’s report also recommended other measures  to make the process of getting permission to do a research project easier, including streamlining the process of getting separate permissions from multiple NHS trusts.

We are currently waiting for the government to introduce a statutory instrument to parliament, which is needed to create a special health authority, and give us more detail on what the Health Research Authority is going to look like and their vision for how it will work.

The Academy’s recommendations to improve the system are widely supported and we’re concerned that the new Health Research Authority can deliver these.

What questions has Phil Willis asked?

asking about the timeline for establishing the agency and when the government will publish details:

Lord Willis of Knaresborough to ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans it has to streamline the compliance and approval processes for medical and health research and when does it intend to publish its proposals?

and exploring what powers the health research authority might have over NHS trusts…

Lord Willis of Knaresborough to ask Her Majesty?s Government whether primary legislation will be required to streamline the approval and compliance processes for NHS Foundation Trusts to take part in patient trials for medical and health related research; and, if not, how will the Government impose requirements on independent foundation trusts. HL11731

What next?

These are written questions so we’ll have to wait for the government to answer them but when they do it should give us some insight into their plans and some of the difficulties they may be facing in ensuring the Health Research Authority is effective.

Posted in: Policy