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19th July 2022

First accredited Clinical Research Practitioner in Wales

Research delivery staff are crucial to the transformation of treatment and care in the NHS through research.

Various allied health care professionals work in research delivery roles and Research Officers and Clinical Studies Officers are an important part of our research delivery teams across Wales. However, unlike other allied healthcare professionals, these roles do not have a formal education and training pathway, or standard competency framework in the health and care sector, until the introduction of the Clinical Research Practitioner registration and accreditation scheme.

A national accredited register for Clinical Research Practitioners (CRPs) was first introduced in July 2021 with an aim to improve professional identity of research delivery staff and provide them a clear career pathway.

Sean Cutler, a Research Officer at Aneurin Bevan University, has become the first Registered Clinical Research Practitioner in Wales. He said:

The accredited registration is just like a ‘stamp’ on our job role that confirms our professional identity. Now I can work independently and confidently in the wards, seeing patients on my own, and having the recognition from other healthcare professionals in the hospital.

To fulfil the registration, I had to go through the competency framework on leadership, working across boundaries and professional accountability. I would have to sit down with my manager and collect feedback from participants, principal investigators and colleagues.

I really feel proud of being the first Welsh registered CRP. The registration is not only just for my own career but I also love being part of this new CRP community where we share best practice, the role CRPs play in other health boards as well as the range of life-changing studies we’re all working on.”

Sean’s line manager, Abby Waters, the Research Delivery Team Lead at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board comments on the benefits this recognition has on the team. She said:

We value the essential knowledge, skills and experience, CRPs contribute to our developing Research Delivery workforce. They support varied clinical research studies alongside registered nurses and other allied health professionals, providing expert care to research participants and their families. Sean is the first of a number of CRPs in Wales to obtain the CRP accredited registration. This development standardises professional competence for the role across the UK, which will improve quality, accountability and help shape clearer career pathways in clinical research.”

Jayne Goodwin, National Head of Research Delivery at Health and Care Research Wales, said:

Clinical Research Practitioners are a vital component in our research workforce, aiding the delivery of high-quality and impactful clinical research. The accreditation scheme helps raise the status of the CRP professionals, recognises their contributions and ensures they are given the same professional development as other recognised professionals. We are thrilled to see Sean receiving the first registered accreditation in Wales and more CRPs working towards this accreditation.”

The accreditation scheme is launched by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, in partnership with the Academy for Healthcare Science Accredited Registers Programme and is recognised by the Professional Standards Authority.

For more information on how to start your journey, visit the NIHR website and chat to your line manager.