NHS England consultation – simplifying research arrangements to improve patient care


NHS England and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have published a joint statement committing to 12 actions to support and apply research in the NHS.

In connection with this, NHS England – along with partners including the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Health Research Authority (HRA) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) – carried out a public consultation ‘Supporting research in the NHS’ from November 2017 to February 2018. It centred around the first two of the twelve actions: better managing excess treatments costs in non-commercial research, as well as plans to reduce delays and improve commercial clinical research set up and reporting. This focus on simplifying and improving research arrangements, is ultimately intended to improve future health and care for patients.

The consultation gathered views from across the clinical research landscape, which have been captured in the response. Following the publication of the response, there has been a significant amount of work undertaken to address the issues and opportunities identified.

This webpage will continue to be updated regularly to provide the latest information around the actions being undertaken to reduce delays during study set-up and to speed up access for patients.

Better managing excess treatment costs – latest update

There has been continued frustration about the complexity and variation in processes for commissioners and providers agreeing excess treatment costs (ETCs).

Scope of the new arrangements

To address the issues identified, the way in which excess treatment costs are met is changing and a trial period for the new arrangements will roll out from 1 October 2018, through to April 2019:

  • The new arrangements will apply to research calls after 1 October 2018 by NIHR and NIHR partners. The AMRC has published a blog on what this means for funders.
  • Ongoing studies open to recruitment after 1 October 2018 will also be transitioned into the new arrangements ensuring the continuation of existing ETC payments.

The impact of this work will:

  • Enable the 15 NIHR Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs) to help manage the excess treatment costs process on behalf of their local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and in collaboration with NHS England Specialised Commissioning. This single point of access for all proposals for which excess treatment costs may be applicable is designed to make the process much simpler for researchers to navigate.
  • Establish a more rapid, standardised and consistent process for the management of excess treatment costs to avoid delays during study set up and to maximise patient recruitment.
  • Set a threshold under which excess treatment costs will need to be absorbed by non-primary care providers participating in studies.

Defining ETC values for each study

To underpin the new arrangements, a cost attribution tool has been created in partnership with charity funders and research sponsors. This tool provides a standardised approach for attributing the costs of health and social care research and development (AcoRD) across England. As part of their funding applications, researchers will be required to complete this new tool, known as a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) for clinical research, which has been developed from the current HRA Schedule of Events. This tool is designed to capture the different costs associated with clinical research and attribute them accordingly.

Download a preview of the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT)
Download the supporting guidance for researchers, study teams and sponsors to complete the SoECAT

Read more here

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