Strategy to support NHS staff be researchers

Posted on March 8, 2012 by


Interesting announcement for research in the NHS today from Andrew Lansley. The Department of Health have published a new strategy aimed at supporting the people working with patients on a day-to-day basis to get research training – Developing the Role of the Clinical Academic Researcher in the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions’.

This chimes well with our calls – throughout the discussion of the Health & Social Care Bill we have been emphasising how important it is to ensure that everyone in the NHS can get engaged with research and that is how we can really make the NHS research-friendly and deliver on that duty to promote research. And it fits with plans outlined by David Nicholson to improve the uptake of new innovations across the NHS – those that understand research and are involved in it will be much more likely to pick up new innovations and use them in their day-to-day practice.

What does the strategy say?

A lot of work has been done in this area already and the strategy outlines work so far – including back in 2007 recommendations were made in Developing the best research professionals (scroll down to open) which were taken forward in a clinical academic training (CAT) programme for nurses, midwives and the allied health professions in England.

The report sums up the different schemes which are now up and running, including those coordinated by the National Institute of Health Research and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) working closely with the NHS.

And there are three great case studies at the end of the experiences of clinical academics.

The report outlines what needs to be developed including:

  • Career pathways for clinical academics
  • central support
  • a national internship programme
  • post-doctoral transition support
  • mentoring
  • joined-up local and national schemes

And they end with a five-point plan

1. we will commission a national review of the size and shape of the clinical
academic workforce of the nursing, midwifery and allied health professions
that will inform modelling of the future workforce;

2. we will secure and sustain a national competitive clinical academic training pathway delivered by the National Institute of Health Research;

3. we will work with key stakeholders to ensure synergy between national and local training schemes which secure growth in workforce capacity and capability;

4. we will accelerate the development of support arrangements that improve
access to, participation in, and transition along the training pathway; and

5. we will establish a national clinical academic development group to drive
implementation of the strategy and its recommendations. This group will have a specific remit in improving access to and participation in the training
pathway and embedding clinical academics at the point of care

So there’s going to be lots of activity to look out for going forward.

Posted in: Policy