NHS England has unveiled new processes designed to fast track clinical trials undertaken across the NHS, and boost access for patients.
Working alongside the National Institute for Health Research, Health Research Authority and NHS Improvement, NHS England said it will bring in new arrangements that “eliminate variation and delays” in organising commercial contract research.
The move should ensure greater certainty and slash administrative costs for both NHS providers and commercial sponsors for the first time in the NHS.
Processes for reimbursing excess treatment costs in non-commercial research are also to be simplified and streamlined, “moving to a consistent process across England with a single point of access and utilising the existing expertise in the system,” the group said.
“These proposals are a great example of how NHS England is working with the wider health and care system to tackle some of the ingrained challenges facing research today,” said Professor Chris Whitty, government chief scientific officer.
“The Department of Health and Social Care is fully supportive of these proposals and will continue to work with NHS England and other partners to make them a reality.”
Also voicing his support, Peter Ellingworth, chief executive of The Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), said: “We must find better ways of adopting innovation, and research is a critical part of this process. By simplifying the landscape, and crucially, speeding up the process in which research is set up, everyone benefits.
“I commend the changes outlined in the consultation response and look forward to working with the NHS to support its implementation.”
The move falls under wider plans to improve the NHS’ ability to undertake research and apply innovation, and NHS England’s mandate to promote and support participation by NHS organisations, patients and carers in research funded both by commercial and non-commercial organisations.