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Palliative Medicine Specialist Trainee Research experience, interest and opportunities: a national survey
  1. Donna Wakefield1,
  2. Felicity Dewhurst2,
  3. Jonathan Koffman3 and
  4. Charlotte Chamberlain4
  5. On behalf of UK_PRC (UK Palliative trainee Research Collaborative)
  1. 1Specialist Palliative Care Team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Stockton-on-Tees, UK
  2. 2Palliative Medicine, Health Education North East, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Department of Palliative Care, King's College London, London, UK
  4. 4Palliative & End of Life Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Donna Wakefield, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Stockton-Upon-Tees, UK; donna.wakefield1{at}


Objectives Despite the acknowledged benefits of research, Palliative Medicine receives minimal research funding and has few dedicated research training posts. This study investigated the opportunities and barriers to participating in research for the current cohort of UK Palliative Medicine Specialist Trainees (PMSTs), to better understand the opportunities to improve evidence-based practice within the specialty.

Methods Two surveys, one for PMSTs and a second for training programme directors (TPDs), were developed. Surveys were piloted and then reviewed by the UK Palliative trainee Research Collaborative and the Palliative Medicine Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) before distribution. All current PMSTs and TPDs representing all of the UK training regions (n=13) were invited to complete the appropriate survey.

Results Overall, 85% (11/13) and 45% (102/225) of TPDs and PMSTs responded, respectively. Almost all (92%) PMSTs reported that they were either ‘very interested’ or ‘quite interested’ in taking part in clinical research. PMSTs generally felt that educationaland clinical supervisors were supportive of them taking part in research; however, few (35%) believed they had access to personnel with adequate research experience to provide practical support. Opportunity for appropriate research supervision varied considerably by training region. Where research was being conducted, it was often conducted in trainees’ personal time due to the wide regional variation in dedicated research time.

Conclusion Despite significant interest in clinical research and support by TPDs and clinical supervisors, access to experienced researchers and equitable protected research time by region needs urgent attention to enhance progress in evidence-based palliative medicine.

  • education and training
  • methodological research
  • supportive care

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  • Twitter @DonnaWakefield_ @UK_PRC, @@JonathanKoffman, @@C_A_Chamberlain

  • Collaborators Study by all authors on behalf of the UK Palliative trainee Research Collaborative (UK_PRC)

  • Contributors Survey design and results analysis: DW and CC. Manuscript writing: all authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The Health Research Authority decision tool confirmed that National Health Service Research Ethics Committee review was not required. Ethical approval was discussed with the Research and Development Team at the University of Bristol and formal faculty ethics approval was found not to be required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.