The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (FPM) welcomes this UK-wide vision for a “patient-centred, pro-innovation and digitally enabled clinical research environment”.
FPM supports the main themes within the report, of the power of collaboration between stakeholders and sectors, and a focus on innovative trial design and delivery. We strongly believe that embedding clinical research in NHS by empowering, supporting and educating staff, and better engaging with patients, will bring efficiency across the health service and better outcomes for patients. We also support action to encourage involvement in research from across the UK’s diverse population.
The membership of FPM has deep expertise in developing new medicines, designing trials and running trials, within the UK and globally. During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic we have undertaken a number of activities that have contributed to discussions on how the UK can continue to spearhead the global research effort. As this report outlines, the commitment to clinical research in the UK must be backed up by robust implementation plans.
Whilst the UK clinical research response to COVID-19 has been unprecedented, clinical research into other conditions has suffered, impacting on patients. FPM members have been extremely busy over the last year, both in terms of driving the development of new medicines and vaccines to tackle COVID-19 and also adapting existing clinical trials to take into account the restrictions that the pandemic has imposed, in order that patients can continue in the trials. However, issues still remain and FPM has expressed concern about the impact of COVID-19 on clinical research into other conditions. Therefore, the commitment in this report to recover research in other conditions and build in resilience so that the UK can reliably deliver research in the future is welcome.
FPM members have identified a number of areas where the learnings from this unprecedented effort can be adopted more broadly. We are ready to work with central Government and the devolved administrations to bring our expertise to the fore and to support the seven areas for action, identified in the report. We can support healthcare professionals to develop research skills relevant to their clinical role and support the development of virtual delivery models and innovative research designs. Over the coming months we also look forward to contributing more broadly to the Resilience, Recovery and Growth Programme as well as the plans outlined for phase two of this vision.