Hospitals at risk after research is questioned: Study finds half of specialist units' projects do not merit funding

THE FUTURE of some of Britain's most prestigious specialist hospitals was put in jeopardy yesterday with the publication of a review that found that half the research did not merit special government funding.

The hospitals say that without the money they will find it difficult to survive in the internal NHS market, which they will join next April.

The eight London hospitals, including Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children and the Royal Marsden Hospital, which specialises in cancer treatment, are directly funded by the Department of Health because of their high research workload. They receive pounds 360m a year.

The report was independently compiled for the Department of Health under the chairmanship of Professor Sir Michael Thompson, Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham University, and found that the quality of research and planning 'varied greatly'.

The Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte's Hospital was outstanding when its research projects were rated, the report says. But the independent reviewers could find no research that was either internationally important or of high importance to the NHS at the Eastman Dental Hospital.

The hospitals of the Special Health Authorities selected the research projects they submitted for review. These were then rated for scientific merit and for importance to the NHS. The aim of the review was to identify research that would merit financial protection in the NHS market.

The report lists projects to which the reviewers gave alpha plus for 'best in the world' research of international importance, or alpha ratings for work of national importance. Then they rated the work as of high, medium or low importance to the NHS.

Those of greatest value received both an alpha plus and a 'high' rating. Six Hammersmith projects reached this level. Great Ormond Street scored three, although most of its projects were of high NHS importance.

The Royal Brompton National Heart and Lung Hospitals also has three areas of research at 'alpha plus, high'. The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital have two each. The Royal Marsden Hospital had no alpha plus projects but three alpha projects of high NHS importance. The Eastman had no alpha or high ratings.

The review now goes to Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, and will form part of the broader decisions about the future of all of London's hospitals.

The special health authorities comprise single speciality hospitals and were established in 1974. As hospitals drawing patients from across the UK, they had special funds and high staff levels to cope with the demands of complex diseases. But since then expertise in specialist areas has spread across the country.

A spokesman for the Eastman Dental Hospital said last night that the hospital was considering the report.

Special Health Authorities: Research Review; HMSO; pounds 7.10

----------------------------------------------------------------- HOSPITAL RESEARCH RATINGS ----------------------------------------------------------------- *Alpha Plus Alpha H* M* Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte's Hospitals 9 7 8 8 Royal Brompton National Heart and Lung Hospitals 5 4 7 2 Bethlehem Royal and Maudsley Hospital 3 4 6 1 National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery 4 7 4 7 Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children 3 11 11 3 Moorfields Eye Hospital 2 2 2 2 Royal Marsden Hospital 0 9 3 6 ----------------------------------------------------------------- *Alpha Plus is best in the field internationally; Alpha = best in the field nationally. H = high importance to the NHS; M = medium importance. -----------------------------------------------------------------

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: General Manager

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of global logisti...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager - £70,000 OTE

£35000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager (Vice President...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Marketing Executive i...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable