Our board and member organisations regularly hear concerns from the health services research community about the way research ethics, research governance and information governance systems work, particularly for research where there is very little risk of harm to research participants. It is often suggested that delays to potentially impactful research, with benefits for the NHS and for patients and populations, result. This is a complex area, involving research funders, sponsors, regulators (principally the Health Research Authority in England and its equivalents in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and NHS organisations where research is carried out.
The COVID19 pandemic has shown that ethics and governance systems can be adapted to work much more quickly for COVID19 research, though it has also slowed approvals for other research and stopped some (for example, all research undertaken by students as part of their education programmes). There is a real opportunity, going forward, to rethink the principles on which our ethics and governance systems work and to look for practical and constructive reforms.
To support change in this area, we have launched an online consultation questionnaire and are seeking your views and experiences to understand what works well and identify areas for improvement.
The consultation will run from Thursday 20th May until Friday 18th June 2021. We would very much like you to complete the questionnaire through the link provided above and also to circulate the questionnaire to colleagues in your organisation and to encourage them to take part. We aim to produce a short report from the consultation in September 2021.
Thank you for your support, we look forward to receiving your completed questionnaires.