• Move part of efforts by CQC and NIHR to promote research
  • Questions will fall under regulator’s well-led domain

Trusts will face new questions from Care Quality Commission inspectors on their efforts to involve clinical research in the work of the organisation.

Under the regulator’s well-led domain, providers will be asked about the role of research in their trust. The move forms part of efforts by the CQC and the National Institute for Health Research to promote research, which they believe can help raise overall standards of care.

Ted Baker, CQC chief inspector of hospitals, said: “We know there is evidence that research-active organisations have the potential to achieve better patient outcomes and [the] CQC has been working with the NIHR to strengthen how we assess research and innovation as part of our well-led inspections.”

The new questions trusts may face when being quizzed by inspectors include:

  • Are divisional staff aware of research undertaken in and through the trust, how it contributes to improvement and the service level needed across departments to support it?
  • How do senior leaders support internal investigators initiating and managing clinical studies?
  • Does the vision and strategy incorporate plans for supporting clinical research activity as a key contributor to best patient care?
  • Does the trust have clear internal reporting systems for its research range, volume, activity, safety and performance?
  • How are patients and carers given the opportunity to participate in or become actively involved in clinical research studies across the trust?

The questions form part of the CQC’s overall assessment and will not carry any specific penalties or rewards, but will be used by inspectors when reaching their overall judgement of the organisation.

Dr William van’t Hoff, clinical director for NHS engagement at the NIHR, said: “We are delighted to see the inclusion of the research questions into the CQC inspection framework for the well-led category.

“For those trusts with less research taking place, it is hoped the introduction of these questions will help them recognise more access to research opportunities really does drive high-quality patient care and is highly rated by participating staff and patients alike.”