Committee launches inquiry into clinical academics in the NHS
15 November 2022
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee launches an inquiry into the work of clinical academics
The Committee will explore the work of clinical academics in the NHS and the challenges they face post-COVID-19. The Committee will be taking oral evidence in November and publish its conclusions and recommendations shortly afterwards.
Clinical academics are qualified doctors who combine working as a specialist doctor with research and/or teaching responsibilities. There are significant advantages to such roles. Clinical academics can bring their hospital experience into their academic research, and vice-versa, strengthening the use of evidence-based practice and applying innovative medical techniques in the field. But with increased pressures on the NHS workforce, there are concerns that clinical academics do not have enough time to undertake research. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, only 13% reported being able to spend as much time as they should on their research.
In response, the Academy of Medical Sciences has, along with early career researchers, developed an online COVID-19 career support space. This aims to bring together a range of resources to support biomedical and health researchers.
The National Institute for Health and Care Research has listed a number of challenges faced by clinical academics, including delivering effective ‘re-entry’ mechanisms for individuals who have needed to take particularly prolonged periods away from clinical training and research due to clinical service needs or other reasons, the problem of retaining NHS staff to manage the backlog of non-COVID-19 cases, and securing funding for the necessary extension of research or clinical training arising because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The inquiry will seek to understand the pressures facing clinical academics and options to address them. The Committee will explore issues including:
- The benefits that clinical academics bring and whether these benefits are threatened by the increase in pressures placed on them
- The concerns of those who fund the research of clinical academics and what support they can offer
- The role the NHS, universities and the Government play in addressing the challenges faced by clinical academics
- The policies needed to support clinical academics
The Committee is not issuing a call for written submissions. Please contact HLScience@parliament.uk for further information about the inquiry.