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Should doctors do research? | MRC LMS exhibit at Science Museum Lates

 23 July 2018   Public Engagement

On Wednesday 25 July, MRC LMS will be celebrating #NHS70 at this month’s Medicine themed Science Museum Lates. This series of preview articles will give you a taster of what our team from Hammersmith Hospital will be sharing on the evening. Handle objects featured in our ‘Heroes of Health’ comic, meet researchers using AI for heart disease treatments and researchers using psychiatric imaging for mental health treatments, and share your response to ‘should doctors do research?’

The overarching theme of the MRC LMS exhibit at Science Museum Lates is the question, ‘should doctors do research?’ Clinical experiences and interacting directly with patients can give doctors an alternative perspective on the direction that research efforts should be focused, and can give them great insight into how discoveries can be translated to be of most benefit to patients. However, is taking them out of NHS hospital wards, and into the lab, a good use of time and resources?

At LMS, we believe doctors are uniquely placed to play a role in medical research. Many prominent developments in modern medicine are due to clinicians taking initiative to enter the lab and focusing on finding solutions to problems faced in a hospital setting. In addition to the need for research to progress medical science, data has shown that clinical environments that encourage research have led to more immediate positive outcomes for patients.1

Although we know of the positive impact research has on medicine, recent reductions in NHS funding and the strain of a growing population on health services means that doctors are under increasing pressure. Is it a good use of resource to divert doctors’ time and resources away from the clinic and towards research efforts?2

Images of some of our Chain-Florey Clinical Research Scheme doctors who have undertaken research at MRC LMS: (from L to R) Harry Leitch, Hannah Beckwith, Eleanor Sandhu.

Research by The Royal College of Physicians found that the key barriers to doctors undertaking research are a lack of time and funding, often due to the daily demands already placed on doctors in a clinical environment.2 At MRC LMS, clinicians have the opportunity to work on the frontline of cutting-edge medical research in parallel with their work in the clinic. Our Chain-Florey Clinical Research scheme allows doctors to undergo basic laboratory training, providing funding, facilities, and most importantly time.

At Lates doctors from MRC LMS will be sparking the conversation and getting your thoughts on our question ‘should doctors do research?’ Come and tell us what you think in person this Wednesday, 25 July, in the Information Age gallery on the 2nd floor of the Science Museum, or if you can’t make it in person you can cast your vote in our Twitter poll which will be opening at 12pm, 25 July.

Medicine Lates #NHS70 is at 18:45-22:00 on 25 July at the Science Museum, London, Exhibition Road.

Science Museum Lates is a series of adults-only, after-hours themed nights that take place on the last Wednesday of every month and feature interactive activities, hands-on stands, cutting-edge researchers, live music, museum tours and a silent disco.

References

1. Boaz, A. Gower, J.D. Hinchcliffe, R.J. Holt, P.J.E. Karthikesalingam A. Ozdemir, B.A. Poloniecki, J.D. Sinha, S. and Thompson, MM. (2015). ‘Research Activity and the Association with Mortality.’ PLoS ONE. 10:(2) :e0118253. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4342017/.

2. RCP Policy: Research and academic medicine (2016). Research for all. [online] London: Royal College of Physicians, pp.3-4. Available at: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/research-all.

By Ellie McLaughlin, Science Communications Intern, GECo.