Billions are spent on clinical research that gets ignored – here’s the answer

Shaun Treweek, Aileen Grant, Mary Wells

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Heart failure is a major killer, affecting well over a million people in the UK alone. We now have over 20 years’ worth of evidence from clinical trials that show strong benefits for a package of treatment involving not only drugs and devices but also where patients stay, how they are cared for and how the different healthcare professionals work with one another. Yet in many cases, doctors are not acting on the findings.

This is just one example of a major problem in healthcare across the world. Billions of pounds are spent each year researching clinical treatments, but a staggering 85% of all research ends up not being put into practice – much of it passed over for reasons that could be avoided. Even when research findings are taken up by clinicians and those in charge of health policy, the average delay between publication and practice is 17 years.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Aileen Grant has received funding from NHS Research Scotland, part of the Chief Scientist’s Office, The Tayside Centre for Academic Sciences, NHS Tayside and NHS Lothian. The views in this piece are entirely her own.

Mary Wells has in the past received funding from Chief Scientist Office, Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK, World Cancer Research Fund, Tenovus Scotland, Dundee Cancer Centre, University of Dundee, Tayside Oncology Fund, Big Lottery Fund, NHS Tayside and Molnlyke Healthcare.

Shaun Treweek has received funding from the Chief Scientist's Office, European Union, National Institute for Health Research, Medical Research Council and the University of Aberdeen’s Development Trust.


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