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New report highlights how universities support the NHS

Universities UK Media Release, March 4, 2003:

Curing arthritis, keyhole surgery, managing medicines - these are just some of the important ways in which universities contribute to the health service, a new Universities UK report reveals.

The report, Partners in Care, shows the role of university staff – working alongside their NHS colleagues - in educating healthcare professionals, researching treatments and delivering patient care.¹ It includes case studies from across the higher education sector highlighting how universities help for example to develop patient-centred care, reduce and manage patient pain levels, stop young people from smoking, and help Britain’s Olympic athletes overcome injury. 

The report was launched at a reception in the Strangers' Dining Room, House of Commons on Tuesday, March 4. Speakers included Health Minister Lord Hunt, Universities UK Chief Executive Diana Warwick and Sir Martin Harris, Chair of Universities UK's Health committee. 

Launching the report, Professor Sir Martin Harris, Chair of Universities UK Health Committee, said: "University staff make an often unrecognised contribution to patient care in the NHS - clinical academic staff deliver and often lead patient care alongside their NHS colleagues and healthcare students. This is in addition to educating the healthcare professionals of the future, and supporting the UK’s world-leading health and pharmaceutical research
2". 

Diana Warwick, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "As we consider the likely impact of the higher education White Paper, this report is a timely reminder of the invaluable contribution university staff make to healthcare. It shows how vital it is to maintain an adequate research base to underpin their work across the country. Proposals to cut HEFCE funding for research in clinical subjects to those units that scored 4 or less in the 2001 RAE risk undermining research in dentistry, community and hospital-based clinical subjects, and clinical laboratory sciences
3".

In his introduction to the report, the Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, emphasised the high skills and vital contribution of university staff and in particular "their ability to work in partnership with other stakeholders in the world of health and science".

Notes:

1. In 2000/01, there were nearly 146,000 full-time undergraduates studying health-related programmes in UK universities. These include pharmacy, healthcare sciences and audiology, as well as nursing and medicine.

2. Of the world’s top 50 pharmaceutical companies, 48 have chosen London or the South East for a base. 

3. If funding for departments rated 4 or below in the 2001 RAE was cut, as much as 60% of community based clinical research in England would be affected. For Wales and Northern Ireland, there would be no funding for research activity at all.

4. Embargoed copies of the report are available from Universities UK press office. From Wednesday, March 5, 2003 the report will also be available on the Universities UK website. Journalists wishing to attend the launch should contact Universities UK Press Office on 020 7419 5407 for an invitation. This will be required to gain access to the event.

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Last updated: 4 March 2003 10:55
Created by: Rachel Tunstall

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