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Information setbacks delay health research

Gaining approval for health research from NHS R&D departments and ethics committees takes an unpredictable and long time but the situation is improving, attendees at a forum hosted by the Health Research Authority have been told.

“Researchers often can’t predict which projects will take long or short times to get approval,” said Jane Robertson, a senior programme manager at the National Institute for Health Research, speaking at the forum, which was held in London on 6 and 7 February.

Efforts are underway to give researchers a clearer estimate of the time it will take for their particular study to be approved, based on its size and the risks involved among other factors. This type of assessment was already being carried out by the National Research Ethics Services, which has now been absorbed into the HRA. “If it’s high risk, it’ll take longer,” Janet Wisely, chief executive of the HRA, said at the event.

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