Child health research at a 'worringly low level'

A survey of nearly 2,000 consultant paediatricians has revealed that over 80 per cent have no time allocated for research work.

On top of this, nearly 90 per cent said they do not receive grants to carry out research.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), which carried out the survey, warns that the low level of research being undertaken into child health presents a risk to the health of current and future generations.

Findings from the survey also reveal that those undertaking research spend almost the same amount of time on unpaid research work as that which is paid, and on average more male consultants publish research than female consultants.

In reaction to the survey, the RCPCH has made a series of recommendations which it says should be implemented urgently in order to reverse the decline in child health research, they include:

  • Ensuring training in research methods is effectively delivered to students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level;
  • Increased promotion of research findings and successes, particularly when it has led to better outcomes for children;
  • More information on funding and collaboration opportunities;
  • Studying and replication of overseas models and best practice.

Professor Anne Greenough, vice-president for research at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said, 'The level of research being undertaken into child health is worryingly low. We know that there are huge pressures on the paediatric workforce but without time allocated to generating evidence to advance treatment and care, we risk not giving children and young people the level of healthcare they deserve. This will affect not only today’s children, but ultimately the health of the nation.'

  • The full survey - 'Participation in child health research: A survey of the paediatric workforce', is available to download here

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