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Full response on independent review of commercial clinical trials offers opportunity to renew strategic priorities

Full response on independent review of commercial clinical trials offers opportunity to renew strategic priorities

22nd November 2023

The UK Government has today (22 November) published its full response to an independent review of commercial clinical trials, providing a platform for the renewal of strategic priorities

Led by Lord James O’Shaughnessy, the review was commissioned in February and published in May, setting out 27 recommendations intended to deliver major, sustained growth in commercial trial activity.

The review involved extensive engagement with leaders from industry, medical research charities, academia, the NHS, regulators, and other partners in clinical trials.

Whilst it focused on the systems and structures in England, many of the recommendations made in the review were applicable across all four nations of the UK as part of a collaborative, innovative cross-sector approach.

The O'Shaughnessy response is being delivered under the Recovery, Resilience and Growth Programme which has proven to be a successful framework for collaboration and coordination across UK partners with the ultimate aim of engendering wider clinical research reform and making it faster and easier for NHS patients to access the latest innovative treatments.

The response notes that UK performance in clinical research has now exceeded pre-pandemic levels, a new fast-track process will halve the time it takes for some research to get underway, while set up times for commercial studies have reduced.

Health Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We welcome Lord O’Shaughnessy’s review of commercial clinical trials which sets out clear areas for improvement across the whole clinical research pathway.

“Through our Chief Scientist Office, we continue to work closely with our partners across the UK to drive forward a more innovative, efficient, and inclusive clinical research system. This work is vital to the recovery and reform of the health service to deliver benefits to our patients, NHS Scotland and the economy.”

The review saw officials from devolved administrations attending workshops and discussions which informed the recommendations which span all critical capabilities needed to undertake a successful commercial clinical trial in the UK - from workforce and patient engagement, through to set up times, approvals processes, and data access.

Chief Scientist (Health) Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak said: “Commercial clinical trial activity is a key part of our research portfolio in Scotland. Lord O’Shaughnessy’s review has shone a spotlight on the challenges we must address and opportunities we should maximise to create an environment where innovative commercial clinical trials thrive.

“Since publication of the review, significant work has progressed particularly in our ongoing work to implement the vision set out in Saving and Improving Lives: The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery.

“High quality trials can ultimately lead to better prevention, treatment and care for all and we must sustain these collaborative efforts to attract more industry clinical trials to the UK.”

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