HPS Research

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What is Research?

The UK NHS Research Ethics Service (NRES) definition may be used as a guide to define research and differentiate it, as an activity, from audit and service evaluation.

The aim of research is to: “derive generalisable new knowledge, whereas the aim of audit and service evaluation projects is to measure standards of care. Research is to find out what you should be doing; audit is to find out if you are doing planned activity and assesses whether it is working. Some projects may have more than one intent, in which case a judgement will need to be made on the primary aim of the project.

This definition has been accepted by NSS Clinical Governance Committee and is adopted for the purposes of this strategy.

Research and HPS

The HPS Mission Statement is "To work, in partnership with others, to protect the Scottish public from being exposed to hazards which damage their health and to limit any impact on health when such exposures cannot be avoided". The HPS vision is to achieve this mission through a number of functions, one of which is defined as "improving the knowledge base for health protection through research and development". Research conducted by or involving HPS is, therefore, aimed at improving the knowledge base in relation to a broad range of health protection issues.

We collaborate on research with a number of stakeholders including: Scottish health boards, hospitals and laboratories, public health agencies, academic institutes, research bodies and industry.

What is Research Governance?

Research Governance is concerned with the setting of standards to ensure and improve research quality and to safeguard the public where research may affect them. It involves the enhancement of ethical and scientific quality of research, the promotion of good practice, the reduction of the occurrence of adverse incidents, the prevention of poor performance and misconduct.

What is the Research Governance Framework for Health and Community Care?

The Research Governance Framework for Health and Community Care represents the first stage in the continuing process for promoting improvements in health and community care research. It sets out a framework for good practice, which governs the wide range of research relating to the responsibilities of the Minister for Health and Community Care. It is, therefore, of direct relevance to all those who host, conduct, participate in, fund or manage research in the health and community care setting, including that concerned with the protection and promotion of public health. It sets standards, details the responsibilities of key people involved in research and outlines the process for achieving governance. The framework relates to all research involving patients, their tissues, their organs or their data.

Issues addressed by the Framework include:

  • Ethics
  • Science
  • Information
  • Health & Safety
  • Finance
  • Quality Research Culture

The framework applies to:

  • All research within NHS settings including HPS, by or in collaboration with NHS care providers or non NHS organisations.
  • All research using NHS patients, tissue, data, staff, equipment, facilities or services. This includes staff with full or honorary NHS contracts, students and part-time staff or those on short term attachments.
  • Those who host, conduct, participate in, fund and manage health and community care research.
  • Research funded by core funds or external sources

HPS Research Register

In order to comply with a number of key issues within the Research Governance Framework, HPS has created a Research Register which holds information on all ongoing (as well as some completed) research involving the organisation and, where available, associated publications. For more information on the research register at HPS, please email the HPS Research and Innovation mailbox (nss.hpsresearch-innovation@nhs.net).

Information Governance Approvals

If you are conducting research which requires access to NHS Scotland data, you will need to submit an application for consideration by the Public Benefit and Privacy Panel (PBBP) for Health and Social Care.  eDRIS provides a service to support all applicants applying to the Public Benefit and Privacy Panel for information governance approval.

Additional Resources