Research and innovation

Campaigning to make sure that UK health policy is led by the latest research and innovation is one of the RCP’s four policy and campaigns priorities for 2023-2026, chosen in consultation with RCP members and RCP Council.

'We will promote the benefits of new technology and clinical research to improve patient outcomes and access to new treatments. We will make the case for protected time for research and support NHS organisations to facilitate clinical research. We will continue to lead in defining high-quality care and medical safety.'

Agreed at RCP Council, 2022

Clinical research activity improves patient outcomes. We also know that research involvement is linked to better staff morale with potential for improved retention and recruitment. Embedding research in everyday practice for all clinicians will help to ensure the NHS has the research capacity it needs and patients have access to the latest treatments and innovation.

The RCP is committed to improving access to clinical research and supporting the integration of research into everyday care. The RCP and National Institute for Health and Care Research published a joint position statement in 2022 setting out recommendations for making research part of everyday practice for all clinicians.

Time has been identified as a major barrier to clinicians participating in research. Results from our 2022 RCP census of consultant physicians found that 60% do not undertake research, yet 38% would like to. Members told us that lack of time was the biggest barrier, followed by barriers research in their NHS organisation. This echoes findings of a member survey in 2020 which found that two-thirds of physicians surveyed said having dedicated time for research would make them more likely to apply for a role, with 54% saying a lack of time prevented them from doing more research.

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