Department of Health awards £4.5 million to speed up approval of studies

The Times Higher Education has featured a story on the NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) and its ability to streamline the assessment and approval of studies, including clinical trials.

The Department of Health awarded £4.5 million to the HRA in March in order to reduce bureaucracy and simplify the system by moving decisions on legal grounds up to the national level, freeing the trusts to concentrate on assessing their practical ability to take part. Academics have welcomed the principle of streamlining but remain skeptical. Sue Enright, operations director of the Leicester Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Leicester, warned that NHS trusts see themselves as legal entities and that unless the HRA addresses this ‘‘legal and indemnity [problem] with trusts, we may just have the same issues but wrapped up in a different coat’’.