We have submitted a response to HM Treasury to inform the Spending Review 2015. Our response has been co-badged by 51 member charities.
- There is compelling evidence, accepted by government, that investment in R&D drives productivity. Every £1 of public or charity investment in medical research generates annual monetised health benefits of 10p in perpetuity and additional spill over benefits.
- The dual support system, with its diversity of funding streams, has been vital to the excellence of the research base. It has enabled cross-sector research collaborations, in which knowledge, resources and expertise have been shared, leveraging investment from medical research charities and industry and driving competitive opportunities. Multi-disciplinary research will underpin 21st century medical research.
- The charity research support element of quality-related (QR) funding helps government leverage investment from the charity sector. This funding stream is important to support institutions that are successful in winning charity grants and ensures that universities are incentivised to seek charity investment.
- In a highly competitive world, the UK will only retain its position as a global powerhouse of R&D if strong, predictable and sustained government funding for research, infrastructure and skills is confirmed. We call upon the government to protect the science budget in real terms, with an upward trajectory as soon as economic conditions allow.
- The NHS is one of the UK’s unique assets and plays a central role in the development and testing of new treatments and interventions. Research should be embedded across the health service as part of high quality care.
- Government support for research and translation though the National Institute for Health Research and payment of Excess Treatment Costs by NHS England and Clinical Commissioning Groups is essential to allow charities to fund life-changing research in the NHS. We call upon government to commit to long-term stable funding for research and infrastructure in the NHS by protecting the NIHR budget in real terms. Increases are essential if it is to play its full part in supporting implementation of the NHS’s Five Year Forward View.
- The diversity and interdependency of the UK’s funding base – charities, philanthropists, venture, public sector and the life sciences industries is a differentiating strength in the UK. Funders contribute to research at different stages in the translational pipeline. Partnerships between academia, industry and charities ensure that the outcomes of publicly funded medical research are translated into outcomes that benefit UK patients, population and the economy. Funding from actors in the ecosystem is interdependent and additive; cuts in one area can’t be compensated for by other funders.
- The sharing of patient data and adoption of proven innovations and new treatments across the NHS must be improved for patient benefit and to underpin a more sustainable and effective healthcare system.
- The Accelerated Access Review should devote sufficient resource to the vexed issue of adoption and engage effectively with NHS England, CCGs and providers if it is to deliver robust, implementable solutions which are “owned” by those expected to implement and fund them.
- Cutting edge research infrastructure and equipment is needed to enable the UK to be at the forefront R&D. Resource and capital funding should be awarded on the basis of excellence wherever it is found, via transparent processes. Medical research charities should be engaged and consulted in the planned Science and Innovation Audits.
- The STEM workforce should be grown and government should encourage the training, development and retention of the UK’s skilled workforce. Immigration policies must enable the UK to attract the brightest people to work here.
- The outputs of research have reduced morbidity and mortality, enabling millions of people in the UK to live longer, healthier lives, reducing the financial burden on health and social care, and driving productivity by reducing working days lost by them and their carers.