The National Institute for Health Research has announced that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is to give more exposure to clinical research taking place in NHS trusts.

The trusts will now be asked to look more closely at research as a priority for improving patient care, as a result of new questions in the framework.

A partnership made up of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Health Research Authority (HRA) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), together with UK Research and Development representatives (known as UKRD) and patients, have collaborated with CQC on the project.

Dr William van’t Hoff, NIHR clinical director for NHS Engagement who spearheaded the project from its inception, said that there’s "a growing body of evidence which illustrates that research active hospitals have better patient outcomes. Not only this, but we also know that patients really value the opportunity to take part in, and benefit from, research taking place in their local hospital.

"Therefore, the new questions included in the CQC well-led framework aim to ensure that trusts really look at clinical research as an opportunity for good patient care, and that it embeds as a founding principle across its staff in all specialties.”

The series of questions on research is relevant both to trusts with established research portfolios as well as those with less research activity. Many doctors regard research as an important part of their job, and find it a very positive experience but studies show that they are also challenged by the lack of protected time for patient-facing research.