The Department of Health is set to spend almost half a billion pounds on research and development next year, writes Julia Hinde.
The majority of the 1999-2000 Pounds 496 million DoH research budget will go on National Health Service R&D, which sees its budget rise to Pounds 431 million, an increase of 2.5 per cent in line with inflation.
Of this, Pounds 358 million will go directly to hospitals and GPs to undertake and host research, while Pounds 68 million will be spent on research activities through the NHS R&D programme, much of which is undertaken by universities. The programme will include research into the long-term effects of primary care treatment for depression, as well as research into the management of angina and ways to reduce falls and fall-related injuries in the elderly.
Announcing next year's NHS R&D levy, health minister Baroness Hayman said the government was determined not just to push at the frontiers of research, "but also to ensure that research findings are translated into real and consistent benefits for the public and patients".
As well as the R&D levy, the DOH spends smaller sums on research through its policy research programme in support of government policies for health and social care, and through non-departmental public bodies such as the Public Health Laboratory Service.
The government has already announced Pounds 304.5 million for medical and health related research next year.