Budget reaction

UPDATE & FURTHER COMMENT

There’s a very helpful bullet point summary of the budget measures concerning health research on NIHR’s website.

Having only just landed in the office after an afternoon following developments while in and out of meetings, I would add the following to my comment earlier today:

‘Credit where credit is due.  After months of pushing by medical research charities and our partners in health research, one can only applaud the Government for coming forward with a comprehensive set of measures which will ease regulatory issues, speed up the research process and improve transparency. 

I am very pleased that the proposals include a commitment to tackle a number of long-standing issues such as e-health records research.  Also, that political weight is being put behind the need to make information about clinical trials accessible to patients through the UK Clinical Trials Gateway.   This ‘front door’ to research for patients is extraordinarily important if we wish to see the patient population more engaged in health research and participate in trials.

While the headlines will undoubtedly concentrate on eye-catching details such as the creation of a Health Research Agency, I believe that one of the most important steps outlined is that aimed at incentivising research at a local level.  It will help to ensure that the health system begins to work to the advantage of health research.”

George Osborne has announced the 2011 budget, with interesting news for science, and medical research in particular. As trailed, this includes £100 million capital funding for science institutions and measures to make the UK more attractive to small and medium sized enterprises, key members of the life sciences sector.

The growth strategy, published alongside the budget, published alongside the budget, announces plans to act on the Academy of Medical Sciences’ recommendations to improve the regulation of health research in the UK, including establishing a single Health Research Agency to regulate research and working to streamline the process of conducting clinical trials. It also announces action to make patient data safely and securely available for medical research and to establish a Cell Therapy Technology and Innovation Centre.

My first impressions of today’s announcements?

Medical research charities and patients will very much welcome the steps outlined by the government to reduce health research regulation and help clinical trials get off the ground more quickly. They are important steps towards ensuring patients will benefit from future innovations in health and that the UK remains a world leader in research.

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