From Archie Cochrane in 1948 to Wales’ role in today’s genomic revolution, chapter three of the Chief Medical Officer for Wales Annual Report 2018/19 focuses on the life-changing research happening in Wales.
Drawing on examples from across the Health and Care Research Wales infrastructure and Welsh Government, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, discusses what research is, why we do it and showcases the collaborative research happening across Wales that is improving the health of future generations and informing policy.
Throughout the chapter the Welsh Government recognises the critical role research has to play in discovering new treatments, preventing ill health and shaping services for patients and the public now and in the future. It explains that research is contributing not only to health but also the wealth of Wales, with researchers in Wales leading on over 530 successful grant awards and bringing in more than £139 million in research funding since 2015.
Dr Atherton said: “putting evidence at the heart of health and care decision-making has never been so important, and I am delighted to see the health and care research community stepping up to the challenge of producing research that matters.”
The report also highlights how research in Wales is addressing key policy priorities, such as “worrying” levels of obesity, with childhood obesity being of “particular concern”. Research from the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research (NCPHWR) into improving physical activity in children and young people forms the basis of one of the case studies in the report, Dr Atherton added: “the research done by Wales’ NCPHWR is at the forefront of research to inform obesity prevention initiatives.”
Dr Sinead Brophy, deputy director at NCPHWR, talked about being featured in the report: “We are very honoured that the work of the NCPHWR has been included in the CMO’s annual report. Our work focuses on early years and experiences in primary and secondary school aged children in order to inform healthy development of young people in Wales. It is a real honour that our findings have been taken forward by the CMO.”
Work from the Wales Cancer Research Centre, SAIL databank, Wales Gene Park, Swansea Bay University Health Board and the Diabetes Research Unit Cymru also features throughout the chapter.
Carys Thomas and Michael Bowdery, Joint Interim Directors of Health and Care Research Wales, commented, “we are delighted and proud to see Health and Care Research Wales featured in the CMO’s Annual Report. The benefits of health and care research are profound – whether that be in preventing ill health, enhancing wellbeing, reducing inequalities, developing better treatments or shaping services.”
Other chapters in the report cover the State of Our Health, Prudent and Value Based Healthcare, and Working Together to Protect the Public from Health Threats.
You can read the full report here.