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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Health Minister welcomes plan to rebuild clinical research

Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed plans to rebuild levels of clinical research paused as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In March 2020, many clinical research studies were paused to focus on research into Covid treatments and vaccines.

A detailed UK wide plan has now been developed to not only restore pre-Covid clinical research but to build back better, making the UK the leading global hub for life sciences research, delivering benefits to the economy, the health service and population health.

The UK wide Recovery, Resilience and Growth programme for Clinical Research is led by DHSC England and aims to ensure successful delivery of future research across all areas of health and social care.

A specialist taskforce was established in March 2021 to develop a plan specific to Northern Ireland. The taskforce included representatives from the Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts, NI research infrastructure, industry, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University and the public. This plan has now been published.

It recommends a series of actions to support recovery, resilience and growth in health and social care research in Northern Ireland. The actions should lead to improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of this research, allowing the most important questions to be answered more clearly and more quickly.

Welcoming the development Minister Robin Swann said:

“The recommendations contained in this plan will build on and strengthen the important contribution that Northern Ireland has already made to local, UK and global research.

“They will draw on local leadership, the commitment of our health and social care staff to ensuring that patients are offered participation in trials and are supported through them, and the willingness of the public to be part of, and partners in these studies. Research should be integral to practice in health and social care, and recovery, resilience and growth of this research is vital to improving the health and wellbeing of the people of Northern Ireland. This new plan provides us with the foundations to achieve this.”

The plan will help ensure that the research will influence future decisions that will improve health and wellbeing and prevent premature deaths. It will allow health and social care to build on research expertise in NI and the willingness of patients and the public to participate in the planning and delivery of research and provide them with opportunities to do so.

Professor Mike Clarke, Chair of the Taskforce said:

“High quality research is key to effective and efficient health and social care. People making decisions and choices about care need to be able to use knowledge gained from this research and doing research needs to be seen as a core component of delivering high quality care.

“Recovery of research will require strong collaboration between health and social care practitioners, academics, industry and the public. It will also require evidence-based innovation in how research is done so that it can grow and survive future shocks such as Covid-19.”


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