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The Professional Standards Authority (PSA), the body that sets the standards for accredited registers of people who work in health and social care, has now approved a change to the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) Accredited Register to add Clinical Research Practitioners (CRPs).  The AHCS is the single overarching body for the entire Healthcare Science workforce in the UK.  CRP is an umbrella title that has been used within the initiative to establish registration and describes a family of roles that include Clinical Studies Officer, Research Practitioner, Clinical Trials Practitioner and Clinical Trials Officer among others.

CRPs are already a recognised and valued part of the clinical research and healthcare delivery team, currently working to deliver COVID-19 research and supporting those on the NHS front line. This is a landmark decision, and when registered, CRPs will be able to display the PSA accredited register quality mark, indicating that they meet the rigorous standards set for their professional practice.  PSA panel decisions are published online and now include the assessment of AHCS registration for CRPs.

As the number of CRP roles in the research delivery workforce began to grow, it became increasingly apparent that a national approach was required to support the development of this new professional community in the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN)-funded workforce. The value of accredited registration for CRPs was initially proposed by Dr Susan Hamer, former Director of Nursing, Learning and Organisational Development, in line with the policy emphasis on right touch regulation.  CRN Medical Director, Prof Nick Lemoine, led as Executive Sponsor for the initiative throughout the foundational steps to define CRP registration scope, standards and processes.  Iterative development was driven jointly by Dr Fiona O’Neill, Business Change Lead, and Dr Janice Paterson,  Delivery Lead,  CRNCC, taking a collaborative approach that brought together co-creative input from CRPs, Research Nurses, R&D Managers and senior workforce leaders from across the NIHR and the wider health and care system. 

Fiona now joins the AHCS as Head of Registration Services for CRPs and will chair the CRP Registration Council as part of the governance framework for the AHCS Accredited Registers Programme.  Collaboration between the AHCS and the NIHR CRN will continue throughout implementation of CRP registration, working closely with Local Clinical Research Networks  (LCRNs) to progress this in due course, and will be key in promoting the value of accredited registration as it becomes an asset to CRPs and the UK research delivery workforce as a whole.   

Welcoming accredited registration for CRPs, Dr William van’t Hoff, CEO NIHR CRN said:

“I am delighted that the Professional Standards Authority has now approved registration for Clinical Research Practitioners within the Academy for Healthcare Science Accredited Registers Programme. 

There has never been a more important time for CRPs to bring their skills and knowledge forward, as they are doing now in their vital contribution to delivering nationally prioritised Urgent Public Health COVID-19 research. “

CRP Register Pilot

The CRP register pilot is currently on hold until there is capacity for CRPs, national verifiers and managers to engage with the process.   All documentation available at this stage is accessible via the link.

CRP Community

We encourage all CRPs committed to seeking registration to join the CRP Directory.

As at 14th April 2020, there is no fee to join, or to rejoin, the CRP Directory.

CRP News CRP Development | Join the CRP Directory during Covid-19

For more information, contact: Janice.Paterson@nihr.ac.uk