Research in the national health service

Lucy Hope, Andrew Shennan, Khaled M.K. Ismail

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Introduction Evidence is fundamental to all we do in clinical practice, and is obtained through research. All clinicians, whether they have academic ambitions or not, need to have a fundamental understanding of research and its methodologies to inform their practice. Even those who are not research active themselves can offer opportunities to those in their care to participate in studies, and should understand the mechanisms to achieve this. But, ultimately, making a difference to the health of those we call our patients is why we do research. This passion to do good can get lost or a little dampened by the ‘red tape’ we have to go through (although it is for good reason) to get us to the point where we can recruit a research participant - so who supports the delivery of research in the National Health Service (NHS)? The NHS has a clear mandate from the UK government to integrate the conduct and translation of the findings of research into clinical care. This is demonstrated in the NHS Constitution, which pledged to inform NHS patients of research studies they may be eligible to participate in. Furthermore, it highlighted the need to ensure patient care is continuously improved and that this (along with other measures) could be achieved through continued innovation via the robust conduct and implementation of research. The Health and Social Care Act underlines this commitment by delegating the legal duty to ensure this is carried out to the Secretary of State, the NHS Commissioning Board, and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Each UK nation has its own government department that oversees health and care research - in England this is the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). For information about equivalent support in the Devolved Nations please refer to The National Institute for Social Care and Health Research for Wales, The Chief Scientist Office for Scotland and The Health and Social Care Public Health Agency Research and Development for Northern Ireland. The focus of this chapter is the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN), which is the part of the NIHR that facilitates clinical research in the NHS in England. The information is based on that presented on the NIHR website, and is also a reflection of the experience of the authors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntroduction to Research Methodology for Specialists and Trainees
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781107585775
ISBN (Print)9781107699472
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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