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Last week marked the official launch of a campaign by the International Academy of Clinical Research (IAoCR) to change the way that training and education is carried out within the UK’s clinical research industry. The organization is calling for the introduction of accredited clinical research training with a recognised industry standard and demonstrable, measurable levels of competence.
A meeting was held to discuss how the industry can improve the way that training is carried out. It was attended by key stakeholders from pharmaceutical companies and CROs (Contract Research Organisations) with presentations from Dr Vincent Yeung from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), Dr Mike Hardman from IMI/EMTRAIN and Virendra Sharma MP, from the Health Select Committee.
CEO at IAoCR, Jacqueline Johnson North says: “Our event last week stimulated a great deal of debate about the increasing need for accredited training within the clinical research industry. Although there were many different opinions, it was unanimously agreed that there needs to be some form of regulated, recognised and accredited training.”
Accredited training has the potential to improve patient safety and public confidence in clinical research; reduce risks and mistakes; get drugs to market quicker; reduce repetitive training; and support the career progress of clinical research professionals, site staff and investigators.
Johnson North explains: “Currently, clinical research professionals and site staff receive full training before commencing any clinical research trial. This training covers standard operating procedures, general clinical research training and trial specific training; however there is rarely any meaningful measure of learning transfer and staff competence. We believe that by introducing a requirement for accredited, quality controlled training, trial operators will be able to reduce the level of repetitive general training and focus much more heavily on the trial specific training. The results will be four-fold – training time will be reduced, specific training will be improved, staff will feel more valued as their level of expertise is recognised and finally, skills and qualifications will become more transparent and more portable which will boost the industry by attracting and keeping quality staff.”
Attendees at the event agreed that there is a genuine need to create a better infrastructure for clinical research within the UK which needs to be introduced across all areas from universities through to the NHS as well as the commercial sector.
The IAoCR is now looking at ways to take this motion to Government and inspire debate. The IAoCR has requested information from all interested parties with a view to developing a working document outlining the need for a national clinical research training framework. For more information on the IAoCR, please visit www.iaocr.com.