Led by NHS Research Scotland, Scotland operates a centralised system to support clinical research in Scotland. Working on a pan-Scotland basis a responsive infrastructure has been implemented to enable researchers to bring studies to Scotland and ensure that obtaining R&D permission is a smooth and rapid process. NHS Research Scotland provides centralised project coordination with access to clinical investigators and patients, prompt approvals for study start ups and single costing for all trials.
Now part of The Farr Institute, The Scottish Health Informatics Programme is a Scotland-wide research platform for the collation, management, dissemination and analysis of anonymised Electronic Patient Records (EPRs). This exciting new national research facility is firmly embedded within and supported by NHSScotland and provides the basis for numerous future studies using EPRs as well as the rapid and secure access to the type of data that clinical scientists require.
The Data Safe Havens across Scotland provide a platform for the secure use of NHS electronic data in research feasibility, delivery and pharmacovigilance. The Data Safe Havens are supported by trained staff and processes whereby health data can be processed and linked with other health data and made available in a de-identified form for analysis to facilitate research. Local Safe Havens operate in the regional hubs of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as a national Safe Haven at National Services Scotland.
Through the NRS Biorepository network national systems provide streamlined access to anonymised tissue and associated clinical data across Scotland. As a coordinated network – independently accredited and operating to best practice – support is provided to commercial and non-commercial researchers, facilitating access to human tissue, collected during routine patient care, across a range of clinical specialities within NHSScotland via one approved application. This is made possible by an embedded consent process, expert clinical, pathological and scientific advice and commitment to ensuring donated patient samples support a broad research portfolio.