NIHR Clinical Research Networks are undergoing reconfiguration in an attempt to stream line the network, increase consistency of funding allocation, improve responsiveness to change, and provide greater transparency and efficiency. It is proposed that the current network be replaced by 10-12 clinical themes, managed across 15 geographical areas. “Surgery” has been allocated to a theme that includes “Emergency and Unscheduled Care, ENT, and Opthalmology”.
Two patterns of thought have emerged. The Royal College of Surgeons of England appear to be in favour of the proposed grouping as it keeps the surgical specialities together and fits with the recent £2.5m investment to create Surgical Specialty Leads and Clinical Trial Centres. Others are concerned that the grouping, which excludes gastroenterology (Gastroenterology is grouped with Hepatology, Renal, Urology, and Non-Malignant Haematology) might make funding opportunities across themes more difficult, although this is speculative at this stage.
The BSG has been asked to contribute to the consultation process that is currently ongoing. Details can be found on their website . The deadline for comments is 10th February 2013.
Although ACPGBI have not formally be invited to comment, the Executive felt that the voice of its members should be heard, particularly if there was a strong consensus one way or the other. Members are invited to send comments on the proposed groupings to the ACPGBI by 12 noon on 8th February 2013 so that these can be collated and acted upon if necessary.
Chair, Research & Audit Committee, ACPGBI