The NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) protects and promotes the interests of patients and the public in health and social care research. http://www.hra.nhs.uk/
From 31 March 2016, HRA Approval is the process for the NHS in England that brings together the assessment of governance and legal compliance, undertaken by dedicated HRA staff, with the independent REC opinion provided through the UK research ethics service. It replaces the need for local checks of legal compliance and related matters by each participating organisation in England. This allows participating organisations to focus their resources on assessing, arranging and confirming their capacity and capability to deliver the study.
Researchers and industry have reported that navigating the approvals system in England, and addressing varying and sometimes contradictory queries, requires excessive effort from the research team and unnecessary costs for all concerned. The HRA has streamlined this complex process, so that researchers and NHS sites can rely on the HRA’s approval to address both legal and ethical aspects of the study in an integrated way. This will allow local research teams to work with their NHS site to set up and deliver the study.
You apply for HRA Approval by completing an application form in IRAS, called the “IRAS Form” and electronically submitting this form and your supporting documents to the HRA. To find out more about this process in IRAS start by referring to the IRAS Help guidance for HRA Approval [external link].