A national expert on cancer diagnosis will take a lead role in a new £4.75 million centre to create research that guides policy.
Professor Willie Hamilton, of the University of Exeter Medical School, has been appointed Early Diagnosis Lead for the new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Unit in Cancer Awareness, Screening and Early Diagnosis.
The new unit is a collaboration between a number of universities to try to improve cancer treatment and survival rates. Professor Hamilton said: “Early diagnosis of cancer is crucial to getting the best treatment and to improving chances of survival. This investment is part of an exciting national drive to improve diagnosis in cancer across the UK.”
The announcement is part of a £65 million total investment into 13 NIHR Policy Research Units, funded for five years. They aim to ensure that the government and arms-length bodies have the best possible information and evidence available when making policy decisions about health and social care.
Each university-based NIHR Policy Research Unit will host a multidisciplinary team of researchers from collaborating institutions, to create a critical mass of experts for research in priority areas for health and social care policy.
The units will work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to determine priorities and provide evidence directly to the Secretary of State for Health, government departments and arms-length bodies, such as NHS England and Public Health England.
Professor Hamilton is part of the Exeter team of world leaders on cancer diagnosis research. They have created tools to help GPs identify 20 of the most common cancers more precisely.
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “Patients and the public deserve a healthcare system that is informed by the latest research and evidence. The NIHR Policy Research Units will make sure that Government decisions affecting our health and care are robust and evidence based.”