Our Performance In Initiating & Delivering Clinical Research

The Government wishes to see a dramatic and sustained improvement in the performance of providers of NHS services in initiating and delivering clinical research. The aim is to increase the number of patients who have the opportunity to participate in research and to enhance the nation’s attractiveness as a host for research.

The Government’s Plan for Growth, published in March 2011, announced the transformation of incentives at local level for efficiency in initiation and delivery of research. For clinical trials we have, since 2012, published outcomes against public benchmarks, including an initial benchmark of 70 days or less from the time a provider of NHS services receives a valid research application to the time when that provider recruits the first patient for that study.

In future, funding to providers of NHS services is becoming conditional on meeting the national benchmarks, including a 70-day benchmark to recruit first patients for trials. The Department of Health(DH) made this a condition of new contracts from Autumn 2011 and performance will affect funding from 2014.

As part of this incentivisation, the DH requires, via the new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) contracts with providers of NHS services, the publication on a quarterly basis of information regarding: the 70-day benchmark for clinical trial initiation; and the recruitment to time and target for commercial contract clinical trials.

NIHR Clinical Trial 70-day Benchmark

Providers of NHS services are required to publish the following information for Initiating Clinical Research (i.e. the 70-day benchmark) on a publicly available part of their website:

  • The name of the trial;

  • The Research Ethics Committee reference number;

  • The date of receipt of a Valid Research Application;

  • The date of the recruitment of first patient; and

  • Where the benchmark has not been achieved for a particular clinical trial, the reason for not doing so. 

Clinical Trial Recruitment Transparency

Providers of NHS services are also required to publish the following information regarding commercial contract clinical trials, to meet the transparency commitment for delivering clinical research to time and target on a publicly available part of their website:

  • The name of the trial;

  • The Research Ethics Committee reference number;

  • The target number of patients it has agreed to recruit to that trial;

  • The date by which it has agreed to recruit the target number of patients;

  • The trial status: e.g. ongoing or finished; and

  • If trial recruitment has finished, whether or not the agreed target number of patients was recruited within the agreed time.




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Last updated - 01 November 2019


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