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Make research central to NHS, says BMA

Research must be seen as ‘at the heart’ of what it means to be a doctor, medical academic leaders have said. 

In a briefing to peers, before a Lords debate about the impact NHS innovation and research strategies have had on health improvement, the BMA says it welcomes research and innovation activities and education and training being recognised as core components of the NHS. 

It says: ‘Research must be seen as being at the heart of what it means to be a doctor.’

The briefing also urges employers to provide doctors with the time to develop and use research skills.

‘It is vital that the NHS commits to and leads in medical research,’ it says.

‘The BMA believes that NHS providers, especially those taking on new services, should ensure that the opportunities for teaching and research are retained or enhanced.’

Government commitment

Providers should also ensure that NHS doctors have the time and necessary skills to participate in research.

The BMA medical academic staff committee has tried to obtain such a commitment from the Government but had been told responsibility lay with service commissioners.

The BMA briefing adds: ‘While the commitments made by NHS England in this regard are welcome, we do not believe that they alone are sufficient, especially as there seems not yet to be a mechanism for monitoring their implementation.’

Health secretary Earl Howe told peers the Health and Social Care Act was ‘a milestone’ which had created unprecedented powers and duties to promote research at all levels.

‘By the end of this year, NHS England will share a plan with the Department of Health for delivery of its research objective,’ said Lord Howe.

Read the BMA briefing 

The story so far

Medical academics call for clarity on research

Government maintains spending on science and research