Researchers welcome White Paper bureaucracy plans

Plans to cut 'paralysing' regulatory bureaucracy and improve access to patients' medical records have been welcomed by GP researchers.

Dr Andrew Gould of Peninsula Medical School in Devon said proposals set out in the White Paper to cut research bureaucracy could be ‘good news’ for researchers.

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Professor John Campbell, professor of general practice and primary care at the school, said he was ‘delighted’ by the plans.

Professor Campbell said that ‘layers and layers’ of bureaucracy around risk have built up, preventing researchers from undertaking studies. ‘It has paralysed researchers and made the UK uncompetitive,’ he said.

‘It takes three or four months at least to gain approval for even a low-risk project,’ he said. ‘Junior staff, perhaps trainee researchers, find they can make very little progress in the time available to them.  Some come away thinking it just isn't worth the hassle.’

Professor Campbell said being able to access patient records has also been a key issue.

‘The NHS is a major publicly funded body,’ he said. ‘It should be able to use anonymised data derived from patients to inform and develop the service. A public debate on that needs to happen.’

Dr Gould also welcomed the White Paper’s promise to improve patient access to information about research projects that they may want to take part in.

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