So there I was yesterday afternoon, with my biology ‘o’level a distant memory to put it mildly, speaking at the annual NIHR Senior Investigators Meeting thinking: ‘how did I ever get into this?’ The event brings together the very best of NIHR’s researchers for an update on what’s happening across health research. And this was mentioned at last night’s dinner and announced this morning.
The new Health Research Authority (HRA) have been given the Department of Health’s go-ahead to do a feasibility study into developing a simplified and streamlined HRA assessment for all research in the NHS. If I have got this right, that potentially means a move away from the situation we can currently have, where NHS Trusts decide they all ought to do the same assessment before the research can get underway. You got it, that means lots of duplication, delays, a waste of money and patients losing out.
So this would mean HRA would do the assessment and Trusts would only have to think about their ability to deliver the research, while local research ethics committees could concentrate on new issues it raises.
I’m sure that if I have got that rather crass paraphrasing of the announcement wrong, someone will put me right.
A long way to go but more radical than it sounds.