Barriers and opportunities to cancer research in Wales: health professionals’ perspective


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Ishrat Islam1,Eleanor Webber2,Rachel Savery2,Annmarie Nelson1,Ian Lewis1,Anthony Byrne1
1Cardiff University,2Wales Cancer Research Centre

Abstract

Background

The Welsh Government in its Cancer Delivery Plan mandated the development of a cancer research strategy to facilitate cancer research aimed at improving cancer outcomes. Understanding stakeholder current perspectives on the barriers and opportunities to cancer research is a key part of strategy development.

Method

An online survey was conducted via JISC tool and was open for 18 days (3rd – 21st Mar 2019). Respondents were self-selecting from targeted networks chosen for their roles within cancer service delivery, academic research, and industry. Patients and public were targeted through the third sector.

Questionnaire was developed by consultation with expert members of the Cancer Research Strategy Group and lay partners. A mixed method approach was taken using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Results

127 participants responded. They represented multi-professional clinicians, clinical and non-clinical researchers. 60% participants were female. 44% participants agreed that regional collaboration was a strength but there was a lack in national and international collaboration. 56% agreed that Patients and Public involvement was well practised, but community involvement was weak. 69% mentioned about inadequacy in funding and lack of strategic funding (56%). Also 59-65% disagreed that adequate physical or data infrastructure or workforce were available. Respondents agreed that research around prevention (54%), innovation/ drug discovery (46%/ 43%), diagnostic services (49%), cancer biology (43%), palliative care (42%) and service evaluation (46%) needed to be promoted. The key messages were; most found barriers as poor research governance, funding, infrastructure and workforce shortage. Many advocated for more collaboration, introducing a pool budget, encouraging MDT activities, educating people for trials; some thought gaps remained in conducting translational research and portfolio management. Some thought small population size and geography of Wales could be an opportunity.

Conclusion

These subjective findings help identifying the priority areas of research and initiate the need of conducting large scale studies to measure these objectively.