The BMJ reports today that our participation in global clinical research trials in the UK are still falling – from 6% in 2002 to 2% 2009. Not only this but applicants are falling too:
Clinical trials are an indicator of the health of the nation’s research, but they are not the only aspect of clinical research that has been affected. The National Research Ethics Service (NRES) confirms that the number of research applications fell from 9670 to 6321 between 2004 and 2010. So, clinical research into devices and techniques and any projects involving human subjects have also decreased.
The bottom line is that to transform the situation requires reducing local barriers to research by removing the ability of trusts to create their own local rules in addition to national systems. This must be a priority for both Andrew Lansley and David Willetts to act on.