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Thoughts on the NHS Long Term Plan and what this means for research, a blog by Teresa Allen

Last updated on 8 Jan 2019

Yesterday saw the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, the blueprint for the next 10 years of the National Health Service.

teresa-allen-small-croppedA key focus is research and innovation to drive future outcomes and improvement. This acknowledges that patients benefit enormously from research and innovation, with breakthroughs enabling prevention of ill-health, earlier diagnosis, more effective treatments, better outcomes and faster recovery.

It is encouraging to see the plan aligns with our ongoing areas of focus, such as linking and correlating genomics and clinical and patient data. We played an important advisory role within the 100,000 Genome Project, which recently reached its ambitious goal of sequencing 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients.

This sort of bespoke advice is a key part of how we support the research community, making it easier to conduct high-quality research.

The UK has a worldwide reputation for the quality of the research conducted here, as highlighted in the recently published Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and in the Long Term Plan. The HRA has an important role to play in protecting and advancing that reputation, ensuring that regulation governing research in the UK is appreciated and understood, and works for all our stakeholders.

As outlined in our strategic ambitions, we will be continuing to drive forward improvements, leading or working in partnership with other organisations to make our systems as easy to use and efficient as possible. And I’m pleased to say that our approval service has already played a significant part in improving the quality and consistency of research applications.

While making it easy to conduct high quality research in the UK is a core area of focus, patients and the public are at the heart of everything we do, and we are rightly proud of our achievements in promoting and protecting the interests of patients and the public in health and social care research.

The NHS Long Term Plan includes the commitment to increase the number of people registering to participate in health research to one million by 2023/24. We firmly believe that the more people who take part in research, the greater the outcomes for patients, and the HRA will continue to ensure that their interests are protected.

Teresa Allen is the Chief Executive of the HRA

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