Framework for health research welcomed

March 9, 2001

The government has announced a new governance framework for health and social care research.

Last year, an inquiry led by Rod Griffiths, director of public health in the West Midlands, into the monitoring of clinical research in North Staffordshire, called for a comprehensive framework for research governance.

Since then, the Alder Hey body parts scandal has highlighted the need for reform and Sir Brian Follett, vice-chancellor of Warwick University, has been commissioned to conduct an inquiry into management of senior staff working in universities and the National Health Service.

The framework details the responsibilities of key people involved in research, outlines delivery systems, sets standards and describes local and national monitoring systems.

Health minister Lord Philip Hunt said: "Proper governance of research is essential to ensure that the public can have confidence in, and benefit from, research in health and social care."

Sir John Pattison, director of research and development at the Department of Health, said that development and implementation of the framework was a priority.

Michael Powell, executive officer of the Council of Heads of Medical Schools, said: "We are broadly supportive of the framework. This is a significant area for universities as so many academics do research for the NHS."

Trusts are expected to comply with parts of the framework by the end of May.

In a letter to NHS trusts, Lord Hunt said: "In implementing the framework, it is important that you work closely with other parts of the NHS or Department of Health, local authorities, universities, research funders and others with whom you may undertake research."

An implementation plan will be published in September.

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