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NHS: Research

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government have taken to improve research conducted by the NHS since 1997. (183106)

The Government's aim is to make the United Kingdom the best place in the world for health research, development and innovation; to ensure that the national health service is equipped and able to make a key contribution to that end; and to realise the potential of the NHS to support research that improves national health and increases national wealth.

The Government's strategy for health research Best Research for Best Health, published in January 2006 following widespread consultation, is creating a health research system in which the NHS supports outstanding individuals working in world-class facilities, and leading-edge research is conducted, focussing on the needs of patients and the public. Copies of the strategy document are available in the Library.

Details of the progress made with implementation of the strategy are set out in the progress report ‘Transforming Health Research: the first two years’ published on 17 January. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.

These reforms are underpinned by increases in Government funding. Total Government investment in health research will reach £1.7 billion by 2010-11, an increase of over £290 million in the three year period covered by the 2007 comprehensive spending review. Almost £1 billion of this total will be spent by the Department's National Institute of Health Research.