The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has welcomed the new research guidance published by NHS England for the integrated care systems.

The guidance is said to reflect the benefits of delivering research, for patients, staff and healthcare system performance, including the economic benefits for the NHS.

Jennifer Harris, ABPI’s Director of Research Policy, said: “This guidance is clear on what good research practice looks like and it’s great to see it out and available for the NHS to use.

“A research-active NHS delivers huge value to patients, staff and the system itself. We hope that putting this guidance into action will help Integrated Care Systems realize the huge benefits that research can offer, and help make the UK once again a destination of choice for developing the medical breakthroughs people need.”

The new guidance includes:
• Advice for ICSs to meet the legal requirements under the Health and Care Act, to:
o Promote and facilitate research
o Facilitate the use of research evidence (e.g. in commissioning decisions)
o Include research in their five-year plans for health and social care provision (i.e. Joint Forward Plans)
o Report on research activity to NHS England (new research metrics under development)
• An overview of research governance and the contractual requirements for delivering research, including a mandate for NHS providers to use unmodified model contracts, adhere to the interactive Costing Tool’s standardized costings, and implement the National Contract Value Review process.
• A recommendation that ICSs develop a research strategy that is aligned with their 5-year plan (including for developing an ICSs’ industry research portfolio) and appoint an executive lead for research. This also features advice on using health data for research and incorporating research into local workforce strategies (e.g. ensuring staff have the training and skills required to deliver research).
• Advice on how ICSs can deliver research more efficiently by reducing bureaucracy, coordinating study delivery across providers, and tailoring research to better meet local needs.
• A section dedicated to industry clinical research that reiterates the unique value provided by industry trials (e.g. early patient access to new treatments) and stresses the impact that fast study set-up timeframes and meeting recruitment target have on the UK’s global competitiveness.

The ABPI have supported the development of this research mandate as part of a coalition of healthcare research organisations: the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal College of Physicians, the British Pharmacological Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, the Northern Health Science Alliance, Cancer Research UK, the Medical Schools Council, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Versus Arthritis and the University of Liverpool.

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