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Nurses say barriers prevent them from getting involved in clinical research

The NHS should support research into treatments but there are currently barriers preventing staff from taking part, according to a survey of NHS employees.

There was universal agreement among GPs, hospital doctors and nurses regarding the need for the NHS to back research, however 91% of those in the ComRes survey said they had experienced obstacles preventing them from getting involved in research.

Lack of time (62%), funding (30%), practical support (27%) and difficulties navigating regulation (24%) were some of the key barriers identified by the doctors and nurses in the poll.

The majority of GPs described it as very important for the NHS to support research into new treatments, though only around one in five (22%) believed it was very important for them to be personally involved.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of GPs cited lack of time as the main barrier that prevents them from taking part in research.

Nevertheless GPs are seen as having a crucial role in their ability to engage patients in research, given that they are responsible for the majority of contact the NHS has with patients.

Across the survey as a whole, around one in five (18%) health professionals suggested they do not have the required skills to take part in research.

Some respondents cited a lack of confidence in discussing research with patients, with around a third of nurses (31%) and a similar proportion of GPs (34%) describing themselves as not very or not at all confident in this area.

“This survey shows that we still have quite a way to go if we are to get close to the government’s goal of every clinician a researcher and every willing patient a research participant,” said AMRC chief executive Sharmila Nebhrajani.

Practical measures are needed to drive home the importance of research among NHS staff and patients, the expert added.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • More research should be incorporated into a nurses role but only for those nurses and other health care professionals that want to do it. Those on the front line and back office have an important role in shaping the way treatments can be devised and delivered but to do this higher level management need to ensure a balance nurse to patient ratio and agree on specific pure research periods for health care professionals to undertake any research. Also an employer seeking to improve the breadth of nursing researchers should provide workshops and specialised training. Research can be really fun and stimulating.

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