NHS England says it is planning to accelerate the NHS’ national research strategy, “cutting bureaucracy and speeding up access to new and innovative treatments”.

NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens will tell delegates at the Economist War on Cancer event today that proposals striving to “streamline and standardise” the process for setting up clinical trials at multiple sites and claiming back excess treatment costs will be considered by the NHS England Board next week.

In current practice, if studies are taking place at more than one hospital, all sites must agree their own terms with researchers. NHS England plans to remove this condition and introduce a standardised set of terms and conditions to help cut down on red tape and thus accelerate the process.

Another key barrier to research is excess treatment cost, which often arises from conducting research in the NHS. For commercial research treatment costs are covered by industry, but when research if funded by charities or the government it is the NHS’ responsibility to cover costs. NHS chiefs are proposing changes to simplify the processes associated with this.

NHS England said it would seek views “on how we can remove the long-standing frustrations, so we can all invest more time and resource in the war on cancer and other diseases – a simpler, more streamlined process is better for industry and researchers, but most importantly better for patients”.

The move falls under wider plans to improve the NHS’ ability to undertake research and apply innovation, and NHS England's mandate to promote and support participation by NHS organisations, patients and carers in research funded both by commercial and non- commercial organisations.