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New reports show health and care research in Wales brings significant benefits

Research that is taking place to improve the health and care of the people of Wales will take centre stage at a national conference today (7 October), highlighting its impact on patients as well as the Welsh economy.

A report published today by Health and Care Research Wales will showcase the impact of research for patients living with conditions such as Huntington’s, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and breast cancer as a result of major collaborations in Wales.

The report, Making a difference: The impact of health and social care research in Wales, will also highlight the progress made for cardiac patients in critical care, as well as the role Welsh researchers continue to play in the search for treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19. These include the Oxford University-led vaccine trial, a study using the antibodies of recovered patients, and a genomic study to help scientists understand whether a person’s genetics may influence their susceptibility to the virus.

The UK-wide RECOVERY trial which is taking place in hospitals across Wales has also released preliminary results showing that the low-cost drug dexamethasone reduces death by up to one third in hospitalised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19.

A second report published today will show the economic impact and value generated through health research during 2018/19. 

The independent KPMG study*, which was commissioned by Health and Care Research Wales in 2019 indicates that the economic contribution of health research activity supported by NHS organisations in Wales was an estimated £93 million in GVA with approximately 1,600 jobs created by NHS organisations.

The report also notes particular attributes of the Welsh research environment which differentiate it from the other countries of the UK and make Wales an attractive location to undertake research.

Both reports will be published today (October 7th) as Health and Care Research Wales holds its first digital annual conference. The conference will include delegates from the international research community as well as those leading the way in Wales in tackling cancer, heart disease and dementia in Wales.

Professor Kieran Walshe, Director of Health and Care Research Wales, said:

“Both the reports being published today really demonstrate why research matters and now more than ever, the world depends on the endeavours of researchers to find better treatments and vaccines to save lives.

“Often the research done here in Wales bears dividends for the whole of the UK, and internationally. We can be very proud of that - while at the same time recognising that our health and care system in Wales needs to be making good use not just of research done here in Wales but of the UK and international research effort.

“Fundamentally, I think people who have spent their careers in health research do it because they want to make a difference. They want their ideas, their research, and their endeavour to end up improving the lives of patients, their families and the communities and populations we serve.  And these reports show how health and care research can really make a difference.”



*Read the technical appendix for the independent KPMG report: Impact and value of research supported by NHS organisations in Wales