Willing providers

I notice that Frank Dobson MP had a parliamentary question answered yesterday about research in the new NHS.

He asked whether, under the Health and Social Care Bill, ‘willing providers’ (the new term for those organisations including Trusts and independent organisations providing care) would be under a duty to recruit patients to clinical trials.

In its reply the Government said ‘no.’ It is true that NHS organisations do not currently have such a duty placed on them. But I fear we are missing a trick.

Indeed, it is disappointing that the ‘duty to promote research’ which is part of the NHS Commissioning Board’s brief is not to be shared by other elements of the new system.

This duty need not mean a requirement for all organisations to go so far as to recruit to trials. But it could be an enabler clause that at least ensured willing providers referred patients on, or facilitated research in other ways.

As I have said before in this blog it will be a shame if the Bill creates a head that is willing and a heart that is not when it comes to the NHS and research .

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