A colleague of mine put up two slides at a meeting today which neatly encapsulated for me the key strategic – perhaps translational gap – in uk clinical research right now.
On the demand side, the first showed the key results from the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) commissioned MORI poll of public attitudes to health research earlier this year. I quote:
“97% of the public believe that it’s important the NHS should support research into new treatments according to an Ipsos MORI poll published on Thursday 9 June. The poll, commissioned by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), Breast Cancer Campaign and the British Heart Foundation also shows that 92% of people believe it’s important for the NHS to support such research funded by charities.”
Then, on the supply side, these are three of the results from a recent Health Service Journal (HSJ) article
– 38% of clinical research professionals agreed that clinical research is part of their Trust’s planning
– 39% agreed that clinical research has a high priority in their NHS organisation’s strategy
– 61% agreed that clinical research is peripheral and driven by individuals in their organisation.
In essence what this means is that while the public appetite for health research is there, and good systems are now in place for making research happen, we are still depending on enthusiasts to get if off the ground in NHS organisations.
When the Government releases its Life Sciences package on 5th December, I’ll be judging it by how far it might go to closing this gap. You can have as many science clusters as you like but, as one famous political leader said: ‘you cluster if you want to, i’d rather spread the word instead.’
Or something like that.