Health council call for more research into "everyday diseases"

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No image availableNL Times

Dutch University Medical Centers spend a lot of money on studies focusing on special medical topics, and thereby neglect research on common diseases, long term care and prevention, according to the Health Council in a report the Volkskrant has in its possession.

The report calls on UMC's to cooperate more with community nurses, general practitioners and specialists in geriatric medicine. "There are so many everyday problems that are hardly researched", Pim van Gool, president of the Health Council, said according to the newspaper.

The Health Council partly attributes the gap between research and practice to the distribution of research subsidies. In 2014 eight UMC's had 1.2 billion euros available for research. The distribution of the money was based on the number of publications in leading journals and the number of times the research was cited by others. The higher the scores in those departments, the more research money the UMC gets.

But the Health Council believes that research subsidies should focus more on the social contribution of the research. Van Gool admits that changing from the performance culture will be difficult. UMC's will have to set up a research agenda along with patients, municipalities, health service GGD and national health institute RIVM. The Ministry of Public Health should also establish a research fund, to which municipalities and health insurers must contribute, according to the Health Council.