Medical charities want more say in decisions

March 10, 1995

The expansion of the Wellcome Trust has led to renewed calls for a forum to monitor medical research policy.

The forum would enable all major funders of medical research to overcome the fragmented way in which decisions are made about the country's medical science base, says the Association of the Medical Research Charities. It would also give charities a more formal input into decision making.

The Wellcome Trust's grant-giving potential is set to rise by Pounds 60 million a year after Glaxo's bid for shares in the Wellcome drug company was accepted this week.

At present it spends about Pounds 150 million a year on medical research in the United kingdom.

But no one body is charged with assessing issues such as the impact that this will have on medical research, said Diana Garn-ham of the association.

"Within the charity sector there is good information now about what other charities are doing," she said. "But everybody is dependent on bilateral discussions."

The recent Culyer report on research in the health service recommended the setting up of a national forum for major research funders. But "its remit is to consider only research in the NHS", said Ms Garnham.

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