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?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?