HRA to pilot simplified assessment

31 October 2012

The Health Research Authority has announced its proposal to test the potential benefits of a simplified HRA assessment for all research in the NHS

The assessment would combine and replace aspects of the current review by NHS Research and Development (R&D) and Research Ethics Committees (RECs).

Work on the feasibility project will begin immediately with a pilot project in Spring 2013.  There will also be collaborative workshops to consider specific areas. A decision will then be made on whether to move to full implementation.

The HRA said the proposed assessment could improve both study set-up times and the quality and consistency of ethical review.  The authority also suggested that, If successful, this transformation across R&D and ethics review would potentially provide a platform for other plans to improve by the HRA and other partners.

Janet Wisely, Chief Executive of the Health Research Authority, said:

"The Health Research Authority welcomes the opportunity to lead this, and other work, to make it easier to do good quality research in the UK.

“The potential for improvement by radically simplifying how we assess research is significant, and we plan to work closely and effectively with others to determine how this can best be achieved."

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive of the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network, said:

“It is vital that all organisations operating in the research environment work together to improve the efficiency of study set-up and delivery, for the benefit of the whole research community and – ultimately – for patients.

“We wholeheartedly support this feasibility project, and look forward to collaborating with the HRA to ensure that initiatives led by both our organisations align for best effect.”

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