Diabetes UK has been busy at the political party conferences in recent weeks. Dr. Iain Frame, Diabetes UK Director of Research, spoke at fringe events at all three main party conferences entitled ‘Research to the Rescue!’ at which charities pressed the importance of medical research to the UK’s economy. The events were held jointly with the British Heart Foundation and The Stroke Association.
Benefits of medical research
The panel considered the benefits to be gained from sustaining Britain’s global position at the forefront of medical research. Being the largest organisation in the UK working for people with diabetes, it was important for Diabetes UK to represent the people living with diabetes who will ultimately benefit from the results of research.
Firstly, the panel were asked their views on the benefits of medical research to the economy and society by Lord Turnberg, Chair of the APPG on Medical Research. Remarking on this issue, Dr. Frame said: “Research has clearly been worthwhile and the health and wealth of the nation has benefited from it.” He added that it was important to remember that patients now have a stronger voice in this area of work.
More supportive for medical research
Alex Silverstein, Volunteer Development Officer at Diabetes UK, then posed the question to the panel “How can we ensure that the UK is more supportive of medical research?” In response Dr. Frame said: “Bureaucratic processes for scientists must be made easier. I also call for better support of clinicians who want to combine their career within the NHS with research. And lets not forget the high risk, high reward basic science, without which we wouldn’t be talking about the need to support clinical research."